In February 2012, Congress enacted The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, containing landmark provisions to create a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) that will provide police, firefighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials with wireless broadband communication services on a nationwide network. The laws governing the framework for the deployment of this network is the new "First Responder Network Board" known as FirstNet, an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FirstNet will hold the spectrum license for the network, and is charged with taking all actions necessary to build, deploy, and operate the network, in consultation with Federal, state, Tribal, and local public safety entities, and other key stakeholders.
With the passage of this federal statute, Oklahoma public safety is offered a tremendous opportunity to evolve and improve dramatically the capabilities of public safety communications. The Act creates a National Public Safety Broadband Network concept and calls for FirstNet, the board governing the network and its creation, to consult with state and local governments to ensure its success. The consultation with the states is to be conducted primarily through the State and Local Implementation Planning Grant Program (SLIGP).
There is no defined timeline for the deployment of the NPSBN; however, Oklahoma will keep up-to-date with the planning and build-out of the NPSBN in the near and long term in coordination with FirstNet. The network build-out will require continuing education and commitment at all levels of government and across public safety disciplines to document network requirements and identify existing resources and assets that could potentially be used in the build-out of the network. It will also be necessary to develop and maintain strategic partnerships with a variety of stakeholder agencies and organizations at the national, state, regional, local, and Tribal levels and design effective policy and governance structures that address new and emerging interoperable and emergency communications technologies.
Preparing for Public Safety Broadband
Oklahoma has taken several steps toward preparing for implementation of the NPSBN. Initial public safety broadband efforts in the state were started by various localities and tribes before the establishment of FirstNet, and have now been put on hold until further direction from FirstNet. The state will use SLIGP funding opportunities to align statewide efforts for the planning, build-out, and implementation of the NPSBN. Oklahoma has appointed the Governor's Point of Contact (POC) to FirstNet and established a Steering Committee under the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)/Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES). The Steering Committee will plan, research, and provide recommendations to the Statewide Interoperability Governing Body (SIGB). The SIGB will approve or deny recommendations and present all approved recommendations to the Governor.
The State of Oklahoma is planning regional awareness summits within the state to allow all state emergency responders the opportunity to acquire knowledge of national and state initiatives to expand broadband communication and interoperability for public safety users. These summits will bring current information to regional and local personnel as well as allow them to communicate their needs and desires.
Oklahoma Public Safety Broadband Network Charter