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NDPOA Executive Board




ND Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee - Newsletter January 2018

Governor Burgum's FirstNet Decision

On December 22, 2017, Governor Doug Burgum announced North Dakota's decision to opt-in to the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), as proposed in the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) State Plan. By officially opting-in, North Dakota agrees to allow AT&T (FirstNet's partner) to establish a high-speed wireless broadband data network in the state designed to assist first responders better serve and protect the public. This new network leverages AT&T's existing wireless network (3G, 4G, 4G-LTE) as a foundation, and integrates the Band 14 (4G-LTE) public safety spectrum into the AT&T nationwide broadband network. The Governor's decision leveraged the “opt-in” recommendation made by North Dakota's Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC).

Relating to this matter, Gov. Burgum signed legislation in early 2017 authorizing the creation of a statewide interoperable radio network (SIRN) to improve public safety radio voice communications capabilities for North Dakota first responders. Once complete, both networks will provide advanced tools necessary to improve public safety communications and further protect the wellbeing of our citizens and the safety of our responders

What the decision means

FirstNet service from AT&T are available for purchase off popular government contract vehicles (e.g., NASPO [1]), components of which are still being negotiated for the State of North Dakota, and through independently negotiated service contracts. Public safety subscription to AT&T/FirstNet is optional, FirstNet must compete for your business. Pricing for the FirstNet service is expected to be competitive, and AT&T has committed to provide users with a differentiated service that is more suited to the needs of public safety. As a sign of their commitment to the state, the AT&T/FirstNet service will deliver the following capabilities:

• AT&T will provide priority and preemption services to all primary FirstNet users, including law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, emergency management, and 911 services. All other public safety and public service agencies can subscribe to FirstNet, and purchase priority services as Enhanced Primary subscribers. The purpose of these enhanced services is to eliminate the effects of cellular network congestion on public safety users.
• AT&T will provide this priority (3G, 4G, 4G-LTE) and preemption (4G-LTE) capability on all AT&T bands allowing public safety to take advantage of the existing AT&T infrastructure already in place from the nationwide carrier network.
• AT&T will also expand broadband service coverage and deliver a suite of public safety applications—investing $40 billion into nationwide network infrastructure over the next 25 years as part of the FirstNet contract—with additional commitments to enhance rural coverage.
• The Band 14 core network, scheduled for delivery in March of 2018, will be dedicated to public safety, and among other capabilities, will provide full encryption of data over FirstNet as well as end-to-end cybersecurity.

The FirstNet nationwide network represents a tremendous opportunity for technologists, entrepreneurs, and innovators to provide first responders with novel and advanced technologies, tools and services. The expectation is that public safety data applications, delivered over broadband networks, will advance emergency incident response capabilities and enhance situational awareness. Examples of promising technologies as reported by FirstNet [2] include:

• Apps that reliably share videos, text messages, photos and other information during incidents in near real-time
• Advanced capabilities, like camera-equipped connected drones and robots, to deliver images of wildfires, floods or other events
• Improved location services to help with mapping capabilities during rescue and recovery operations
• Wearables that could relay biometric data (vital signs) to a hospital or sound an alert when a fire fighter is in distress

In the not too distant future, according to AT&T, FirstNet will deliver advanced LTE features such as carrier aggregation, and high data compression techniques that will result in higher network speeds to wireless devices. This is equivalent to a doubling of the data throughput speeds of AT&T's regular LTE network. Following on the heels of LTE Advanced will be the “5G Evolution”, which has “the potential for 500 or 600 megabits per second [3].” AT&T expects a 2018-2019 timeframe for deploying the small cell-based 5G services, with scaling in 2020.

As the choice to subscribe to any wireless services is made locally and on an agency-by-agency basis, the State recommends that you consider AT&T/FirstNet as a potential option when reviewing your wireless broadband data needs.


Thank You for Your Participation

The project team would like to take this opportunity to thank the statewide contributors who over the past 3-years dedicated considerable time and energy in advancing the success of the program, and in defining public safety's broadband service requirements. We would additionally like to acknowledge the members of the State Plan Workgroup for their contributions and guidance during the evaluation of the FirstNet State Plan. The State Plan Workgroup provided valuable inputs into the SIEC recommendation to the Governor.

Project Accomplishments

The publishing of this newsletter concludes a three-year effort of outreach, data collection and consultation with public safety agencies across North Dakota. Over the course of this program, the following project accomplishments are noteworthy.

• Outreach: Regional stakeholder meetings were conducted multiple times throughout the state over the course of the project. Statewide public safety stakeholder input was a driving force in defining public safety broadband requirements, and in delivering recommendations made to the SIEC and Governor.
• Tribal Outreach: The project team was successful in its outreach with Tribal authorities and helped to coordinate direct consultations with FirstNet wherever possible.
• Meetings: The project team conducted over 70 webinars with counties across the state and various state agencies to document unique broadband coverage requirements. Every county and all local public safety agencies were provided an opportunity to participate in these outreach meetings.
• CAD Data: The project team processed Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) to facilitate the assessment of coverage priorities. Going forward, this data will continued to be leveraged to assist FirstNet prioritize new coverage site locations.
• Consultation with FirstNet: The team coordinated multiple events to share State requirements with FirstNet, to seek clarity on FirstNet's service offerings, and to advance the communications goals and objectives of the statewide public safety community.
• Newsletters: The project team has published nearly a dozen newsletters to deliver updates on the project status, to support the requirements gathering efforts, to detail FirstNet's service plans, and to provide general insight on the direction of the public safety broadband marketplace.
• Informational Video: The team developed an informational video on wireless broadband and the expectations for the new FirstNet network. This video presents a brief overview on the capabilities we are expecting. 

The Benefits of Membership

  1. Fellowship of others in the Criminal Justice system in North Dakota.

  2. Emergency relief fund for members in a time of need, in the sum of $500.

  3. Lobbyist at legislative sessions representing...

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Awards and Recognition

The deadlines for the Lone Eagle Awards, both retired officer and active officer, along with the Peace Officer of the Year award are due June 1, 2017.

Other NDPOA awards and recognition can be submitted anytime throughout the year to our email address.

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