Jamie Barnett, Rear Admiral, USN (Retired), who until recently led the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, is the Principal Investigator of the study. Admiral Barnett said “a national network holds tremendous promise for delivering revolutionary broadband services and long-needed interoperability to public safety, but to be sustainable, FirstNet must embrace the States, formalize their representation and leverage their networks.”
The report raises concerns about the loss of BTOP funding, increasing the uncertainty of a deployment timeline that could take more than five years, and NTIA’s reluctance to date to embrace the States as key stakeholders and partners.
Potomac Institutes recommends that to address these problems FirstNet:
- Quickly obtain the expertise and capacity required to deploy a network over the next 5-7 years.
- Working with the States, quickly develop a cost model and business plan for both opt-in and opt-out States.
- Restart the BTOP grants to ensure that state interoperability efforts to date are not lost.
- Facilitate the early deployment of those States and localities that are well funded.