FirstNet to announce general manager tomorrow
Members of the FirstNet board tomorrow will convene for a regularly scheduled meeting, during which the name of the FirstNet general manager will be revealed, according to the agenda released last week.
Since its establishment last August, the FirstNet board has relied primarily on its own membership and members of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) staff—as well as some consultants—to execute policies established by the board. For the past several months, FirstNet board member Craig Farrill has served as acting general manager until a full-time general manager could be hired.
The search for a general manager began late last year, with applicants being required to submit their resumes by Dec. 1. More than 25 people applied for the post, and a search committee narrowed the field to four finalists. During last month’s International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in Las Vegas, FirstNet board members Charles Dowd and Jeff Johnson indicated that they expected the new general manager to be selected within the following 10 days.
Although it has been more than a month since IWCE, various Beltway sources have noted that completing the background checks associated with federal positions can be a very lengthy process.
Another item on the agenda is a resolution to begin spectrum-lease negotiations with the state of Texas. In February, FirstNet board members approved a resolution to negotiate spectrum-lease deals with the seven entities that received NTIA grants to deploy 700 MHz public-safety LTE networks. Those negotiations are proceeding well, according to FirstNet board member Sue Swenson.
Harris County, Texas, used a different funding source to pay for the buildout of its public-safety LTE system, which currently is the only operational public-safety LTE network in the country. However, Harris County has been operating the network using a six-month special temporary authority (STA) from the FCC to gain access to the 700 MHz broadband spectrum. If approved by the FirstNet board, the resolution would let Harris County negotiate a more permanent spectrum agreement with FirstNet, which holds the license to the spectrum.
The FirstNet meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time in Washington, D.C.