FirstNet officials plan to begin state consultations in July to determine the best way to deploy the portion of the nationwide broadband network for public safety within a given state or territory, according to a presentation recently given to state points of contact (SPOCs).

During a webinar with SPOCs conducted earlier this month, FirstNet officials unveiled the timeline for state consultations, which is among the first of more than 40 steps that each state and territory will need to complete before a plan for its portion of the much-anticipated broadband network can be considered by the governor.

SPOCs were provided with a draft checklist of items that FirstNet officials proposed that each state and territory should complete before the consultation process begins in earnest. After receiving input from state representatives on the checklist, FirstNet plans to distribute a final checklist to states and territories by the end of April, according to a slide presentation shared with the SPOCs on April 2.

FirstNet plans to conduct conference calls with representatives of each individual state and territory during the months of May and June, when work to complete the preparatory checklist can be completed. If the checklist is completed, FirstNet plans to begin state consultations in July.

FirstNet Deputy General Manager TJ Kennedy, who is fulfilling the role of general manager in the wake of Bill D’Agostino’s resignation from the post earlier this week, explained the philosophy behind the FirstNet approach to state consultations during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications conducted at IWCE 2014 last month.

“The key thing is we’re being interactive,” Kennedy said. “One of the things I heard early on is people wanted to be involved. So, we didn’t just make a checklist and send it out. What we’ve done is we’ve drafted a checklist, we’ve met with our stakeholders, and we’ve asked them, ‘Do you like this? Do you not like this? Should we add more? Should we take some things out?’ and we’re listening.”

Items on the final state checklist are supposed to ensure that state representatives are prepared for their consultation with FirstNet and should generate information that will be useful, whether the jurisdiction chooses to let FirstNet build the network or chooses to opt out and build its portion of the broadband system on its own, Kennedy said.