LA-RICS board considering alternative public-safety LTE proposal to be submitted to NTIA
Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) board members this weekend will review a new proposal for a public-safety LTE system, so the revised plan can be submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Monday, an LA-RICS official said today.
“We have the draft put together,” LA-RICS Executive Director Patrick Mallon said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.
Mallon said the proposal was circulated today to LA-RICS board members, who will be allowed to offer suggestions and ideas to the proposal during the weekend. The final version of the plan will be submitted to NTIA on Monday, he said.
Mallon declined to disclose the number of sites in the new proposal. However, the draft plan calls for the use of sites on property owned by Los Angeles County and property owned by cities in the region—but not the city of Los Angeles, he said.
In addition, Mallon said the draft plan calls for the deployment of cells on wheels (COWs) that would be located on property owned by the state of California. These COWs would be used as static infrastructure to provide “fill-in” coverage to support the LTE system, he said.
LA-RICs will submit the new proposal in an effort to persuade NTIA to lift the suspension on construction for the public-safety LTE project. NTIA announced the suspension last Friday in the wake of Los Angeles County halting construction for two weeks at most proposed county-owned sites and the Los Angeles City Council prohibiting construction on its properties.
NTIA administers the $154.6 million in federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant that is funding most of the proposed LA-RICS public-safety LTE network. Current law states that the federal grant is due to expire on Sept. 30, so “it would take an act of Congress to change the deadline,” according to an NTIA spokeswoman.
When announcing the suspension, NTIA directed LA-RICS “to submit an amended project plan by April 13 that is acceptable to the City Council, the County Board of Supervisors and NTIA, acting in consultation with FirstNet.”