California Joins FirstNet

According to Politico “All 50 states and Washington, D.C. have opted into a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband communications network, a victory for AT&T and the federal government.”

FirstNet Solutions Overview is HERE  They mention Band 14 in the presentation.

Band 14 is the spectrum licensed to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to create a nationwide public-safety wireless broadband network. Band 14 represents 20 MHz of highly desirable spectrum in the 700 MHz band that provides good propagation in urban and rural areas and decent penetration into buildings.

While Band 14 is for public service use Congress intended that when not used for emergencies by first responders it would be available for use for rural and remote broadband access.

First responders will have priority on this network, but the federal legislation that created FirstNet and authorized network construction allows for much wider use—indeed, any responder, virtually any government user, and even commercial entities and consumers in certain circumstances. In broadening the potential use of these airwaves, Congress likely intended that, in rural and remote areas—which are not profitable for commercial wireless carriers—FirstNet’s network and spectrum could serve a wide variety of needs, including those of families, small businesses and education, as well as traditional public-safety responders.

We will have to see how FirstNet is deployed in the Sierra where there is no broadband coverage. The original GCBC Broadband Proposal included a provision for working with the winner of the FirstNet Contract. I am waiting for a revised copy of the current work plan which was being revised to incorporate the requirements in AB1665 to see if it still has a FirstNet section and allocation.

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