FirstNet in Vermont
FirstNet, or the First Responder Network Authority, is a federal agency formed to ensure the building, deployment and operation of the first high-speed nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. In Vermont, the Public Safety Broadband Network Commission acts as a guiding group to prepare the state for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). This network will provide a cellular type coverage to first responders, with priority and pre-emption features.
State Plan for Vermont
Vermont has received the draft state plan for building the NPSBN in our state. The commission has completed a review of the draft plan and in early August communicated questions and concerns to FirstNet. States are now waiting for responses from FirstNet to their questions and concerns. It is anticipated that responses will be received in early September. In mid- to late-September, it is anticipated that final proposed plans for each state and territory will be opened to the govenors of each state. One of the tasks of the commission is to prepare a recommendation for the Governor to either opt-in or opt-out. If the Governor chooses to opt-in, FirstNet and AT&T will build the network and assume all financial and technical responsibility for the NPSBN in Vermont. If the Governor chooses to opt-out, Vermont will take the responsibility for leading the building, deployment and maintenance of the network over 25 years.
Commission Review Process
The commission review process is to (1) evaluate the draft FirstNet plan; (2) negotiate for plan improvements; (3) determine a recommendation; and (4) if opt-out, the commission will consider alternative approaches. Vermont will have a minimum of eight months to develop an alternative proposal and obtain federal approval for the plan. The state must demonstrate it can build, fund and maintain a system comparable to that offered by FirstNet for the next 25 years.
Looking at Vermont's Options