Last week the FirstNet Board of Directors took another stride forward in approving a Spectrum Lease Agreement in a Special Meeting on June 27th, 2013. This milestone will enable the nation's first early deployer, the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS), to move forward with the nation's first Public Safety LTE pilot program.
The lease agreement, which took 60 days longer than expected to negotiate and approve, is the first of 8 agreements which are expected to move the 7 Public Safety BTOP programs forward, with an additional LTE pilot in Harris County, Texas, negotiating an agreement parallel to the BTOPs.
The next step is FirstNet's recommendation to the NTIA to waive the LTE suspension and BTOP funding freeze, which was put into place last year in preparation for a nationwide LTE architecture, for these agencies. FirstNet has been very clear that their approval of lease agreements and their recommendation to the NTIA does not guarantee a lift of the freeze, but that the final decision still rests with the NTIA once they receive individual requests from the agencies.
Curious about the contents of this agreement? Read it here, with the enabling resolution on the NTIA's website.