Urgent Matters

Upcoming webinar promises to provide insights on FirstNet-state relationships

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Looking for the latest information about FirstNet and key state initiatives? Join us on Wednesday, July 23, for a "State of the States" webinar to gain insights on key topics from representatives from FirstNet, states and a local-government entity.

Almost two years after the initial FirstNet board was appointed, representatives of the fledgling organization will begin conducting face-to-face meetings with states and territories in less than two weeks, and many industry observers are wondering what some of the players are considering as the state-consultation process begins.

It’s probably impossible to get a fully comprehensive perspective on this, but you can get a pretty good idea next Wednesday by attending our “State of the States” webinar, which will begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. During the webinar, key state leaders will share their ideas about the much-anticipated broadband system on a panel that includes Amanda Hilliard, FirstNet’s director of outreach.

Three state single points of contact, or SPOCs (not to be confused with the Star Trek vulcan or the best-selling author of a book on baby care) are slated to participate in the webinar:

  • Todd Early from Texas—Texas boasts the first operational public-safety LTE network in the country, but  more than a year of negotiations with FirstNet have yet to yield a spectrum-lease agreement;
  • Darryl Anderson from Ohio—In addition to leading the deployment of a statewide P25 system, Anderson has helped organize a group of Midwest states that are sharing expertise as they seek answers to their FirstNet questions; and
  • Scott Neal from Pennsylvania—Pennsylvania is one of five states in the Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Interoperable Nationwide Advanced Communications (MACINAC) that was established to consider issues associated with a nationwide public-safety broadband network.

One other panelist is Bill Malone, the recently retired executive director of the Adams County Communications Center (ADCOM911). Malone may not be a state SPOC, but he does have the distinction of being the only person who has overseen the deployment of a public-safety LTE network in the U.S. and has been part of successful spectrum-lease negotiations with FirstNet.

Moderating the webinar will be The Digital Decision’s Robert LeGrande, who oversaw the buildout of the nation’s first public-safety broadband network while serving as CTO for Washington, D.C. More recently, LeGrande moderated a popular conference session at IWCE 2014 that examined state relationships with FirstNet—an event that inspired Wednesday’s webinar.

While the title of the webinar is “State of the States,” all participants also have committed to examining FirstNet-related issues from the perspective of local first-responders agencies, which are needed as subscribers to make the FirstNet system successful and financially viable.

I wouldn’t want to guess what will be said by our panelists, but I’m confident that it will be informative and likely will be entertaining. Thanks to sponsorship from General Dynamics C4 Systems, registration for the event is free, so please consider joining us on Wednesday, July 23.

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Donny Jackson

Donny Jackson is editor of Urgent Communications magazine. Before joining UC in 2002, he covered telecommunications for four years as a freelance writer and as news editor for Telephony magazine....
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