Outreach and Education Update from Vermont's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) - Terry LaValley
In June, 2015 the Vermont Public Safety Broadband Commission (PSBC) kicked off outreach and education to share information about the National Public Safety Broadband Network. We’ve touched 3,176 people statewide through presentations, phone calls, the PSBC website and Facebook page. Throughout Vermont we have briefed the first responder community on the National Public Safety Broadband Network, discussed how Vermont is preparing for participation in the network, as well as gathered input about the unique aspects of Vermont in regards to public safety communications. The role of the outreach and education initiative statewide is to carefully understand the needs of Vermont's first responder community and to share this information with FirstNet.
The Commission and staff have been working to ensure your message is heard by the National Board and their message is being heard in Vermont. As part of our ongoing efforts, we are happy to share some of our accomplishments for the June, 2015 through September, 2015 reporting period:
- Launched an Education and Outreach website, intended to be the single most important tool to connect with and inform Vermont's first responders about the ongoing progress of FirstNet and attracted almost 1,000 visitors since the site launch.
- Presented at 10 of the 13 Local Emergency Planning Committees throughout Vermont.
- Presented at each of the 13 Emergency Medical Service Districts throughout Vermont.
- Tabled at the Vermont Volunteer Firefighters Association Annual Meeting.
- Contacted every police, fire, and EMS entity in the state for their input in planning for FirstNet (direct mail and email).
- Achieved a 70% survey response rate to help determine Vermont’s network capacity needs (Click here for more details).
- Reached out to 230 telecommunications providers throughout the state of Vermont to make them aware of FirstNet and encouraged them to participate in the national conversation.
- Responded to two public notices regarding FirstNet on the federal registry.
- Launched an interactive map to update the public about the progress of first responder presentations: http://psbc.vermont.gov/content/check-out-our-project-status.
- Attended the Fall FirstNet Meeting
Two words capture first responders' reaction to the National Public Safety Broadband Network: “cautious optimism”. Because of historically poor cell phone service in Vermont, communities are cautious about the ability for the terrestrial towers to provide coverage in topographically challenged areas throughout the state. Further we have heard from many first responders that they foresee local town zoning ordinances as a major barrier to the future FirstNet network and fear that towns throughout the state will not approve towers to serve their critical communications needs. Aside from the cautious optimism expressed by first responders throughout Vermont the top three topics we field questions on are: cost, coverage, and timeline of deployment. We have heard these concerns, and continue to promote the need for robust coverage, expeditious build out and cost containment.
We are excited by the momentum gained by the PSBC outreach team over the last few months and eager to continue to keep the first responders engaged as we move forward with participation in the National Public Safety Broadband Network. 2016 will be an exciting year as our Federal Partner FirstNet releases their national Request for Proposal for vendors to build the network. Your participation in Vermont’s ongoing progress is critical in ensuring that we have a comprehensive state Radio Access Network plan to present before the governor in 2017. Stay up to date with Public Safety Broadband Commission news here: http://psbc.vermont.gov/blog.
I look forward to meeting with you and hearing your thoughts and concerns. This is your network and together we must ensure it meets not only our needs, but the needs of Vermont’s next generation of first responders. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions about our work to prepare for the first ever National Public Safety Broadband Network, dedicated to fire responder in Vermont and across the nation.
Terry M. LaValley
FirstNet, Vermont SPOC | Department of Public Safety | Communication Program Manager
(802) 241-5215 Office