FirstNet is creeping toward the award of its long-awaited buildout contract.
The organization’s board on Tuesday approved a resolution authorizing FirstNet CEO Mike Poth to sign off on the contract award.
“This is a significant milestone for FirstNet and for the public safety community,” FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson commented. “We are bringing the procurement to the finish line and soon will be forming an innovative public-private partnership to deploy the Network.”
With a federal court’s recent decision to block a lawsuit from Rivada Mercury in hand, Poth is widely expected to award the contract to AT&T. The carrier in a December filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that based on Rivada’s legal action and public statements from pdvWireless, it was “not aware of any other bidders who remain within the ‘competitive range’ of the First Responder Network procurement.”
Poth on Tuesday said the Board’s authorization marked a “critical step” in finalizing the network procurement contract. The next step will be actually awarding the contract, after which point Poth said FirstNet will “immediately start work” on delivering the buildout.
Back in August, FirstNet approved a 2017 budget that allocated $6.5 billion in support of the contract award.
According to FirstNet’s first 100 days post-award plan laid out in December, the first step after the contract is signed will be a kickoff meeting. FirstNet Network Program Office Director James Mitchell said at the time state plans and everything that goes along with them will be the first major issue to tackle. That will include both consensus building and collaboration between experts from both FirstNet and the contractor sides, as well as formal documentation of the plans. FirstNet will also establish a Quality Assurance Surveillance Program to assess how progress on the buildout is matching up to its expectations.
The contract awardee will gain access to 20 MHz of cleared, prime 700 MHz spectrum across the country, and the right to use or sell access to those airwaves when they’re not being utilized by public safety officials. Though exact specs are unspecified at this point, the buildout is expected to be a boon for not only the contractor, but also infrastructure vendors as well.
Filed Under: Infrastructure