Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE ’s Urgent Communications from last week.

  1. FirstNet is sending out an invite (RFP). Will anyone come?” – In this View From the Top blog, Andrew Seybold offers some suggestions on how FirstNet’s upcoming final request for proposal should be formulated to draw the attention of commercial partners. Seybold warns that FirstNet cannot be procured like “things or services” as in other RFP models. In order to successfully provide a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPBSN), he says, the RFP process must focus on the partnership more than the penalties. “FirstNet must set reasonable milestones and be truly open to the concept of partnering and teaming, as opposed to simply demanding. When paying 100% of the cost of procurement, it is fine to demand what you want and impose penalties when you don’t get it. However, when seeking partners to join as a member of a team, demands should only be made for the benefit of the customer (public safety), and all partners should have a way of resolving issues.”
  2. “FirstNet opts for nationwide acquisition approach for final RFP” – Last week, FirstNet board members unanimously voted on a resolution to exclusively accept national deployment offers for its final request for proposal (RFP). The resolution removes the previous possibility of building out a network specifically for a region or state. “After careful analysis and weighing the pros and cons, FirstNet management recommends to the board that the acquisition approach should follow a nationwide-provider-solution approach,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said while introducing the resolution during the board meeting, which was webcast. “The nationwide-solution approach will assure a comprehensive network solution for public safety. This solution is responsible for all 56 states and territories and inherently will deliver a more consistent package of products and services for public safety.”
  3. “Preventing a devastating, OPM-like hack of FirstNet” – Intel Security’s Patrick Flynn emphasizes the significance of data security for America’s first nationwide public-safety broadband network to avoid a security breach at the magnitude of OPM’s hack of nearly 20 million government workers' personal, highly-sensitive information. “We need to build security into FirstNet from the very beginning; if we’re going to build a network for public safety, it’s imperative we make sure network and device security is the primary consideration during the design phase.” 
  4. “New Jersey, Pennsylvania officials highlight successful public-safety LTE use during papal visit” – During an IWCE’s Urgent Communications webinar, Pennsylvania State Police Capt. William Williams shared the success of the four-site deployable public-safety LTE network provided by New Jersey’s JerseyNet program during Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. Two JerseyNet system-on-wheels (SOW) trailers were deployed in the upper levels of separate parking garages and were connected via microwave to a JerseyNet SOW in Camden, N.J., according to Fred Scalera, public-safety broadband manager for New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. “Sharing video went well. Overall, if this proves to be where our network is going, I'm very happy, and I think we'll have a successful deployment,” Scalera said during the webinar, which was sponsored by InfoVista.
  5. “Modern public-safety networks can support more than first responders” – Modern communications networks, with Internet Protocol (IP) and Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) infrastructure, are allowing public-safety networks to more effectively support their traditional mission-critical requirements, which can translate to government communications in the municipal, statewide and regional sector, Steven Jennings, executive director of critical industries at Alcatel-Lucent, writes in his View from the Top blog. “This new multi-service IP/MPLS network can support the existing LMR and legacy systems. At the same time, it provides high-speed, high-capacity data connections between various government facilities and agencies. It enables enhanced voice and data communications for applications, such as unified communications, video surveillance, body cameras and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), which is a critical component for transportation agencies or municipal utilities.”