Top 5 stories: Week of July 6-10
By Stephanie Toone
1. “FirstNet responses to draft-RFP queries provide some insight into potential plans, leave many questions unanswered” – FirstNet recently released a 217-page response to 666 questions associated with its draft RFP documents, largely reinforcing its openness to consider varied approaches to address the organization’s public-safety broadband mission. Although the responses included some potentially key insights for prospective partners, many critical questions will not be answered until a later date.
2. “Airbus DS Communications still looking for a buyer, plans to sell global division as one unit” – Airbus DS Communications ownership remains in limbo since it went up for sale in September. This article looks at the industry speculation surrounding whether the public-safety-communications assets will be sold as a single unit or as different pieces. Airbus DS Communications CEO Bob Freinberg says several customers have gone forth with long-term contracts despite the limbo.
3. “Counties of Southern Illinois (CSI) begin operations on next-gen 911 system provided by NG-911” – In 13 Southern Illinois counties, a next-generation 911 system has become an operation that could be the blueprint for next-gen services in rural locations. Counties of Southern Illinois (CSI) worked the last eight years on a next-gen 911 system for 17 public-safety answering points (PSAPs). The last PSAP went live on June 25, and the group’s population range will be between 8,000 and 63,000. “We recognized about eight years ago that next-gen 911 was coming, and we knew—being a bunch of poor, rural counties—that we could never afford to do it ourselves [on an individual basis],” Ken Smith, CSI chairman, said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The only way would be to get out in front of it, get some federal grant money, and cooperate on a regional basis, so we could share one set of equipment, because there was no way each of us could do it on our own.”
4. “FirstNet ‘linked at the hip’ with 911 community, plans to hire 911 expert” –IWCE’s Urgent Communications Editor Donny Jackson writes about FirstNet’s efforts to align with the 911 sector. FirstNet may be focused on developing a nationwide broadband network for public-safety personnel in the field, but the organization has been working to ensure those efforts complement the 911 sector, which also is migrating to an IP-based, next-generation platform. The organization plans to hire an emergency-calling expert to serve on FirstNet staff to further prove its cooperative relationship with the 911 community.
5. “Next-gen 911 requires new funding model, greater federal-government role, NENAs Fontes says”– A change in funding models will ensure 911 centers across the country can deploy Public-Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) through next-generation 911, according to National Emergency Number Association CEO Brian Fontes. This article examines whether 911 funding should become more of a federal matter, because 911 calls are primarily from mobile devices, which can be located anywhere. “We must have next-generation 911 supported 100%, because—in reality—this is a partnership,” Fontes told ICWE’s Urgent Communications. “The public has already made a substantial investment in technology that they have at their fingertips that would enable pushing information through to public safety, but there doesn’t seem to be that same investment on the public-safety side by the communities, states and federal government to ensure that these FirstNet/next-generation911systems have the capability of being fully funded and have the funding for operations, once they are built.”