FirstNet releases draft RFP

FirstNet releases draft RFP

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board released a draft RFP for the construction, operation, maintenance and improvement of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) for local, state, regional, tribal and federal first responders.

To date, FirstNet has published 13 RFIs and held multiple meetings with vendor meetings and state officials to determine how to best leverage existing capabilities and best practices to meet the needs of a nationwide public safety network. With this draft RFP, it is seeking comments on all aspects of the acquisition strategy/approaches, including the proposed pricing concepts and operational architecture principles.

Among the technology requirements for the NPSBN -- which will provide 24/7/365 network coverage and include data, voice over LTE, messaging, machine-to-machine, VPN, video and location services -- FirstNet is looking for the following:

Device ecosystem: Provide and maintain a device portfolio that includes ruggedized units capable of gloved, one-handed or hands-free operation as well as those capable of multimedia and high-definition data transmission both from humans and machine-based sensors.

Application ecosystem: Provide an application ecosystem that includes an evolving portfolio of mobile, enterprise, cloud services and applications; an applications development platform; federated identity management; and data, application and resource sharing across public safety agencies.

Service availability: Provide access to network services, within the prescribed coverage area -- during natural and manmade disasters -- with annual end-to-end availability of 99.9 percent.

Cybersecurity: Provide cyber security solutions following industry standards and best practices from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Communications Commission and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

Integration: Integrate the NPSBN with opt-out state radio access networks (RANs) so that users experience no service interruptions, even when crossing opt-out/opt-in RAN service areas.

Innovation: Evolve the NPSBN solution -- including products, services and the incorporation of LTE standards -- as they are released throughout the life of the contract.

FirstNet decided to start by releasing the draft documents to maximize input for the final RFP that will be issued later in the year.

“We want to move quickly to create multiple avenues and opportunities for the states, territories and tribes, public safety community and potential industry partners to engage in a dialogue with FirstNet about how to deploy this network,” said Acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy. “Having an iterative approach that involves public safety early and often in the process will ... help ensure the ultimate network solution works for the public safety community, FirstNet and its industry partners.”

In addition to the notice for the NPSBN, the FirstNet Board approved the framework of FirstNet’s proposed acquisition approach and authorized a third public notice seeking further comment on the definition and scope of the term “public safety entity” as used in FirstNet’s enabling legislation.

Comments shall be submitted via email by 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday July 27, 2015.

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