FirstNet Early Builders Roundtable: Insights and Lessons Learned
Five representatives of the public safety entities that have funding and spectrum lease agreements with FirstNet to build wireless networks for first responders and PSAP’s gathered Tuesday afternoon to give APCO Conference attendees some insight into the ongoing building process and the lessons learned so far.
Pat Mallon of Los Angeles said as of today, 35 sites have been completed ahead of the Sept. 30 funding deadline. But along the way, there have been some roadblocks.
Some cities resisted, demanding infrastructure credits. Many smaller cities opted out, or didn’t meet business standards. There was opposition from labor unions, and activists flooded meetings in opposition – resulting in a loss of 98 sites and a population base of 9.5 million.
In Colorado, Walt Leslie said his group is currently trying to collaborate with other vendors to help expand services to other neighboring public safety agencies. He said developing stronger business procedures and real-world system testing are the next stages that must be addressed.
Todd Early of Harris County Texas said there have been several “Key Learning Conditions” in the program, including Core Transition, Data Analytics, Special Events and Training.
Early said what’s critical for all participants moving forward is providing a better understanding to the general public of what FirstNet is and why it’s so vitally important.
“You walk up to 95 percent of the people on the street and they don’t know what it’s about,” Early said.