The Pennsylvania Senate and House Committees on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness and the Senate Committee on Communications & Technology announced they will host a Joint Public Hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2017 in the North Office Building to review FirstNet in Pennsylvania.
The hearing will focus on construction and interoperability of the Commonwealth Public Safety Broadband Network (CPSBN) through the federal FirstNet legislation passed in 2012. On the agenda will be how Pennsylvania can maximize potential revenues and keep those revenues in state, maintain absolute control of its first responder and emergency communications, dictate how CPSBN revenues are invested in state, prevent the devaluation of its multi-billion dollar investment in first responder networks, and uphold constitutional duties, mandates and responsibilities, including, the Governor’s role as commander-in-chief of the military forces of the Commonwealth, according to Rivada Networks.
Under the FirstNet legislation, when Pennsylvania receives all required information from Washington, Governor Tom Wolf will have 90 days to make an executive decision that impacts Pennsylvanians, their state budget and public safety communications for the next 25 years. Governor Wolf will make a choice between two sharply divergent options for Pennsylvania’s public safety, law enforcement and first responder communications.
Rivada released the following information in a press release:
Opt-In: Pennsylvania gives up 20MHz of prime public safety spectrum to AT&T. First Responders that want to use that spectrum must pay to subscribe to AT&T. The Commonwealth has no control over, or responsibility for, the network. All revenue generated by the network in Pennsylvania goes to AT&T and FirstNet.
Opt-Out: The Commonwealth designs, builds and operates its own interoperable public-safety broadband radio access network in the state through a public-private partnership with a contractor of its choice. Revenue generated by the network stays in state to be used “for constructing, maintaining, operating, or improving the radio access network of the State” as required in FirstNet’s enabling legislation.
Should Pennsylvania opt out, Rivada said it has offered to deploy a purpose-built, dedicated and statewide network for the Commonwealth’s first responders at no cost to the state, and to offer subscriptions to first responders beginning at $0.01 per month. Revenue produced by the network would be shared with the state, and can be used to maintain and improve the network over time.
Joe Euteneuer, co-CEO of Rivada Networks, said: “We’re looking forward to presenting the substantial financial and network advantages of opting out at the October 19th joint public hearing. The Opt-Out advantages for Pennsylvania are truly significant and we are delighted to have the opportunity to answer questions and share information with members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives.”