FirstNet and its Significance to State DOT Operations & Safety Programs

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Start Date:

August 27, 2020 from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EDT


This webinar is intended to raise awareness on the following topics:

PART A: What is FirstNet? [Russ Buchholz to introduce followed by Kenzie Capece from FirstNet Authority]

  • Opening comments, webinar purpose, and webinar agenda – Russ Buchholz
  • Kenzie Capece, FirstNet, to cover:
    • FirstNet Authority
    • AT&T by FirstNet - Network
    • Roadmap and Deployment Status
    • Deployables
    • Primary versus Extended Primary (and service impacts)
    • Stakeholders and Partners (SWIC, SPOC)

PART B: FirstNet and DOTs

  • Understanding FirstNet capabilities [Ryan Poltermann, Commdex & PI on NCHRP 03-129: Essential Communications Guide]
    • How FirstNet differs from traditional DOT LMR Systems
    • Band 14 vs. Non-Band 14
    • High Power User Equipment (HPUE)
    • Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (MCPTT)
    • Other FAQs
  • Leveraging FirstNet capabilities to enhance transportation system operations [State DOT members who can speak to experiences utilizing FirstNet network/deployables and grant funding etc.]
    • Maryland DOT – Janet Frenkil
    • New Hampshire DOT – Dave Chase

PART C: Facilitated Q&A [Lead by: Russ, Ferdinand Milanes & Janet Frenkil]

  • Q/A from webinar attendees
  • Some suggestions:
    • DOT awareness of their respective SPOC and/or SWIC
    • AT&T representative
    • Coverage needs
    • Consider co-location of FirstNet equipment

Background (FirstNet)

Public-safety officials, especially first responders such as law-enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and transportation system managers/operators, rely on communication systems when conducting daily operations, overseeing planned events, and responding to emergencies. The Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the 2012 Act) established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent entity within the Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to help address long-standing service issues and challenges with the interoperability of the different systems used by public-safety entities in differing jurisdictions. They tasked FirstNet with establishing a nationwide, wireless, public-safety broadband network. The bill also committed 7 billion dollars in funding to FirstNet and allocated a total of 20 MHz of bandwidth in the 700 MHz band (758-768 MHz and 788-798 MHz, Band 14).

In March 2017, FirstNet entered into a public-private partnership with AT&T, awarding a 25-year contract for the network’s deployment. As part of this contract, AT&T received $6.5 billion in funding and exclusive access to 20 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum reserved for the network to operate on. In exchange, AT&T is tasked with deploying, operating, and maintaining the network, including providing the technical solution—the overall design, development, production, operation, and evolution of the network—and business functions—the marketing, product management, sales, and customer service.

The 2012 Act also required FirstNet to establish a Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) consisting of members representing all disciplines of public safety as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and that each State establish a Single Point of Contact (SPOC). The mission of the PSAC is to assist FirstNet in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. AASHTO is one of the 40+ organizations with representation on PSAC. The SPOC served as the responsible entity for working with the FirstNet Authority during consultation and the development of State Plans and continues to be the conduit between FirstNet, AT&T, and prospective users.

Target Audience
Managers, Technical Leads within State Departments of Transportation (DOT) Operations, Maintenance, Radio/ITS Communications, IT, Dispatch staff at Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), Transportation Management Centers (TMCs), Transit Operations Centers, etc.



Event Type:


Operations Area of Practice:

  • Traffic Incident Management
  • Emergency Planning