FCC Adopts Criteria to Evaluate States FirstNet Opt-Out Plans

September 25, 2017

Reprinted from Inside Towers

The FCC finalized the technical criteria the Commission will use to evaluate plans from those states that elect to opt-out of the network that will be deployed by the First Responder Network Authority. In June, the agency adopted procedures for administering the state opt-out process, Inside Towers reported, and then sought public input on its technical criteria.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the decision is another step towards the creation of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network. First responders “put their lives on the line each and every day to keep us safe. We owe it to them to give them the tools they need to do their jobs.”

FirstNet filed an “interoperability compliance matrix” documenting the necessary technical standards to ensure a state or territory’s Radio Access Network (RAN) is interoperable with the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. FirstNet proposed the Commission’s review align with recommended requirements from the Interoperability Board Report that apply to the use of Access Point Names (APNs). The FCC agreed, saying these standards are consistent with industry standards for LTE deployment, “resulting in an understandable and achievable benchmark.” Additionally, no one disputed FirstNet’s arguments or proposed a viable alternative, according to the Commission.