Strict Deadlines Laid Out for States That Opt-Out of FirstNet
UPDATE Procedures become effective November 6 for the criteria the FCC will use to evaluate opt-out plans for states that do not choose FirstNet to build and maintain their broadband communications network for first responders. Plans filed with the Commission must address construction, maintenance, operation, and improvements of the state Radio Access Network as well as interoperability requirements with FirstNet. The Commission will confine its review to the RAN elements of alternative state plans.
According to a Federal Register notice, those are defined as “all the cell site equipment, antennas, and backhaul equipment, based on commercial standards, that are required to enable wireless communications with devices using the public safety broadband spectrum,” including backhaul to FirstNet designated consolidation points.
Once a state receives ‘‘notice’’ from FirstNet of the final plan for that state, it has 90 days to tell the FCC it chooses to opt-out. Within 180 days of giving the FCC its opt-out notice, a state must have issued an RFP providing for full deployment of the state RAN. The RFP must cover the actual network build, not merely development of a plan. Also within that 180 days, a state must have received firm commitment bids and chosen a winning bidder. States have 240 days from the opt-out notification date to file alternative plans with the Commission.