The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") seeks comment on three aspects of deployment of the nationwide broadband interoperable public safety network in the 700 MHz band, known as FirstNet.

  • The Commission asks for comment on technical service rules for operation of FirstNet, such as transmission power, emission, and field strength limits, interference coordination, and border management. The Commission also asked whether its equipment certification rules should be modified.
  • The Commission also proposed to modify its rules to bring FirstNet under the purview of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau ("PSHSB") and to establish rules relating to interference and license renewal.
  • The Commission asked for comment on how incumbents in the FirstNet band should be treated.

FCC Comments are due May 24, 2013. FCC Reply Comments are due June 10, 2013.

Relatedly, on April 18, 2013, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA") asked for information about potential future device components of the FirstNet network, along with their supporting ecosystems.  NTIA asked for responses to be submitted in the spreadsheet format provided with the request for information ("RFI").

FirstNet proposes to use the information to help determine future acquisitions, including contract requirements, and potential vendors for FirstNet grant recipients.

The actual size of the FirstNet market is somewhat uncertain, but is widely believed to include at least two milliion first responders.

NTIA Responses are due May 31, 2013, by 5:00 PM Eastern time.