Wednesday, August 14, 2013

FirstNet BTOP Negotiations Fail for 3 Agencies, New Mexico Agreement Signed

FirstNet voted to end spectrum lease negotiations with three of the seven Public Safety Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant recipients, Adams County, CO,  the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, and the City of Charlotte, NC. 

Despite having made significant investments into their LTE pilots, these two entities will not be allowed to move forward with their projects, for reasons Board Member Sue Swenson preferred not to divulge in detail, only citing, "governance issues with local jurisdictions, funding issues, and plan viability."

At yesterday's meeting, the FirstNet board announced the approval of its second Spectrum Lease Agreement with the state of New Mexico and voted to extend negotiations with the State of Mississippi and the Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications Systems Authority in San Francisco (BayRICS). 

The Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) became the first "early mover" BTOP recipient to sign their spectrum lease agreement in June.  The Spectrum Lease Agreements are the first step in lifting the NTIA's suspension of the LTE pilot projects.

Harris County, Texas did not receive a BTOP grant, however Firstnet is still working with them to pursue a Spectrum Lease Agreement with the agency, and if negotiations are successful, their LTE pilot will be considered one of the early deployers that will serve as an educational model for the NPSBN.

For more information, read the NTIA article, or the 700 MHz public Safety Project FAQs.

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