[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 193 (Thursday, October 4, 2012)]
[Pages 60680-60681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24469]



National Telecommunications and Information Administration

[Docket No. 120928505-2505-01]
RIN 0660-XC002

Development of the Nationwide Interoperable Public Safety 
Broadband Network

AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 
U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of inquiry.


SUMMARY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
(NTIA) issues this Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on behalf of the First 
Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to seek public comment on the 
conceptual network architecture presentation made at the FirstNet Board 
of Directors' meeting held on September 25, 2012, as well as to invite 
input on other network design and business plan considerations. NTIA 
also seeks comment on the general concept of how to develop 
applications for public safety users as discussed at the FirstNet Board 
meeting. FirstNet intends to use the input received from this process 
to shape its efforts to establish the interoperable public safety 
broadband network based on a single, nationwide network architecture 
called for under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 
2012 (Act).\1\

    \1\ Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public 
Law 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012) (Act).

DATES: Comments must be received no later than November 1, 2012 at 5:00 
p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted by email to 
[email protected]. Written comments also may be submitted by 
mail to: National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 
U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., HCHB Room 
7324, Attn: FirstNet NOI, Washington, DC 20230. Please note that all 
material sent via the U.S. Postal Service (including ``Overnight'' or 
``Express Mail'') is subject to delivery delays of up to two weeks due 
to mail security procedures. Responders should include the name of the 
person or organization filing the comment, as well as a page number, on 
each page of their submissions. Paper submissions should also include a 
CD or DVD with an electronic version of the document, which should be 
labeled with the name

[[Page 60681]]

and organizational affiliation of the filer. Do not submit Confidential 
Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. 
All email messages and comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted without change to the NTIA Web site 
at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2012/comments-nationwide-interoperable-public-safety-broadband-network-noi. All 
personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily 
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Comments should 
not exceed 25 double-spaced pages.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Uzoma Onyeije, Senior Advisor for 
Public Safety, National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue 
NW., Room 7324, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0016; email: 
[email protected]. Please direct media inquiries to NTIA's Office 
of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002.



    The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created 
the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent 
authority within NTIA and authorized it to take all actions necessary 
to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of a nationwide 
public safety broadband network (PSBN) based on a single, national 
network architecture.\2\ FirstNet is responsible for, at a minimum, 
ensuring nationwide standards for use and access of the network; 
issuing open, transparent, and competitive requests for proposals 
(RFPs) to build, operate, and maintain the network; leveraging, to the 
maximum extent economically desirable, existing commercial wireless 
infrastructure to speed deployment of the network; and overseeing 
contracts with non-federal entities to build, operate, and maintain the 

    \2\ 47 U.S.C. 1422(b).
    \3\ 47 U.S.C. 1426(b)(1).

    FirstNet is headed by a Board of Directors (Board) with 15 voting 
members.\4\ The FirstNet Board held its first public meeting on 
September 25, 2012, during which it took action on several 
organizational and administrative items, including approving 
resolutions to adopt its bylaws, create a State, Regional, Local, and 
Tribal Consultation Committee, and request the Federal Communications 
Commission (FCC) transfer the public safety spectrum license to 
FirstNet. FirstNet Board member Craig Farrill shared a presentation 
outlining a possible framework for designing the public safety network 
architecture in a manner that leverages existing resources and 
infrastructure, as is contemplated in the Act. Specifically, the 
FirstNet Nationwide Network (FNN) concept would leverage the 
significant investments and combined efforts of the public sector and 
the commercial wireless industry to achieve the major elements of the 
nationwide wireless network called for under the Act, including 
ubiquitous coverage, reliable, redundant, and interoperable service, at 
reduced costs and with accelerated availability. The presentation of 
the FNN concept is available for review on NTIA's Web site at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/firstnet_fnn_presentation_09-25-2012_final.pdf.

    \4\ 47 U.S.C. 1424.

    FirstNet Board Chairman Sam Ginn also discussed a general concept 
for developing applications designed specifically for public safety 
users. Under this general concept, FirstNet would seek to understand 
what applications federal, state, local, and tribal public safety users 
would like to see developed. FirstNet would define interface and 
certification requirements for FirstNet applications, and would call on 
innovators to develop applications for public safety to use to do its 
job better and more safely. The public safety community could download 
these applications, thus enabling public safety users nationwide to 
benefit from individual innovations.
    These conceptual presentations mark a starting point for further 

Request for Comments

    On behalf of the FirstNet Board, NTIA requests public comments on 
the FNN conceptual network design model presented at the FirstNet Board 
meeting. NTIA also solicits input from interested stakeholders on other 
options that the FirstNet Board should consider in meeting the Act's 
requirements to deploy the PSBN based on a single, nationwide network 
architecture that evolves with technological advancements. FirstNet is 
particularly interested in receiving innovative ideas on how it can 
deploy a reliable, ubiquitous, redundant, and interoperable broadband 
network for public safety users. NTIA invites the submission of 
proposals that address the following criteria:
    1. Meets public safety's requirements for priority, quality of 
service, and preemption features;
    2. Uses, to the extent possible, existing radio access network and 
core network infrastructure installed by commercial mobile operators in 
order to maximize the coverage and performance delivered to public 
safety while minimizing the capital expenditures;
    3. Reaches operational capability as quickly as possible; and
    4. Enables voice services (cellular telephony and push-to-talk 
(PTT)) both within the FirstNet network as well as to/from other 
commercial networks, including the public switched telephone network 
    Any proposal submitted in response to this NOI should: (1) Describe 
all of the assumptions necessary for the proposal to succeed; (2) 
identify the specific opportunities or benefits the proposal provides 
in meeting the Act's objectives and the criteria enumerated above; (3) 
discuss any existing challenges or obstacles that must be overcome to 
realize the proposal; and (4) specify any areas in need of further 
research and development to ensure the success of the proposal.
    NTIA also seeks input from all stakeholders on the FirstNet Board's 
conceptual discussion of a potential framework for developing 
applications for public safety use. Commenters should: (1) Provide 
suggestions for applications that would benefit public safety users; 
(2) address what interface requirements and other information 
innovators need in order to develop applications in an open 
environment; (3) address what specific security requirements public 
safety needs in its applications; (4) provide ideas as to what 
framework or organizational factors would allow for the development of 
the greatest number of quality applications; (5) provide specific 
suggestions for FirstNet's applications certification requirements; (6) 
discuss possible delivery methods (e.g., app store models) under the 
FNN conceptual architecture model presented at the FirstNet Board 
meeting or based on any alternative network design models that 
commenters propose; and (7) provide comment on any other issues that 
FirstNet should consider in facilitating the development of public 
safety applications.

    Dated: September 28, 2012.
Lawrence E. Strickling,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
[FR Doc. 2012-24469 Filed 10-3-12; 8:45 am]