BTOP resolution on the agenda for FirstNet meeting
Public-safety entities that were awarded federal stimulus grants to deploy 700 MHz first-responder LTE networks may learn whether they can begin pursue their buildout plans again during tomorrow’s third meeting of the FirstNet board.
Among the items on the FirstNet agenda is a resolution with recommendations for Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) projects. Seven public-safety jurisdictions in the U.S. were awarded federal BTOP grants to fund the deployment of 700 MHz LTE networks for first responders, but all of these projects were halted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) early in 2012 to ensure that the FirstNet board would have input into the initiatives.
During its last meeting in December, the FirstNet board heard presentations regarding visits to public-safety BTOP recipients, and board members expressed a desire to let these entities know early this year which LTE projects could be continued. Many board members have said that they would like to see at least some of these early projects proceed, so that FirstNet would have some real-world examples of public-safety LTE to reference when making broader decisions regarding the nationwide network.
It’s a role that the city of Charlotte, N.C., would embrace, if the FirstNet board allows its LTE project to proceed, according to Chuck Robinson, the city’s director of shared services.
“We’re part of the national network and have always viewed ourselves as such,” Robinson said during an interview with Urgent Communications. “I’m hoping we’ll hear something on the 12th.”
Board members for FirstNet will convene tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. MT (11:00 a.m. ET) in Room 1107 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Radio Building 1 (Room 1107), which is located at 325 Broadway in Boulder, Colo.