Wednesday, January 24, 2018

FirstNet Colorado Update

On December 18th, Governor Hickenlooper made the decision, with the support of the FirstNet Colorado Governing Body (FNCGB), to “opt-in” to the proposed FirstNet state plan and have AT&T assume responsibility for the implementation of the FirstNet public safety broadband network (PSBN) in Colorado. It was a difficult decision for both the Governor and FNCGB, but after weighing the pros and cons of both options, eventually all parties agreed that opting-in was the only viable option presented to Colorado.

Now that the opt-in decision has been made, the FirstNet Colorado team is committed to helping stakeholders understand what an opt-in decision means for Colorado and its first responders. From a practical perspective, ‘FirstNet’ will become a service offering within AT&T. The full AT&T ‘public safety’ service offerings should be enabled in Spring 2018. If you haven’t already, you will likely be receiving inquiries from AT&T representatives marketing the service. Please feel free to contact them directly if interested.

Other commercial carriers are offering public safety grade services on their networks as well. They may be contacting your agency directly to market these services; feel free to speak to them too.

The opt-in decision by the Governor does not mandate that an agency or responder must use the service. Therefore, local jurisdictions can make the decision that’s best for their agency. This could be based on service, pricing and specific capabilities offered by the various carriers that will be providing public safety grade services. The FirstNet Colorado team is available as a resource to Colorado’s public safety agencies as they begin navigating the evolving PSBN landscape.

In regards to FirstNet Colorado, our team will continue to be the state-level liaison with FirstNet and AT&T and support you in any way we are capable. The FNCGB will continue to act as a statewide accountability mechanism and adjust the group’s focus based on the needs of Colorado’s stakeholders and your input. Moving forward, we will move to quarterly public meetings with official agendas, meeting minutes and recordings shared on YouTube. Additionally, one of the requirements set by the Governor for the opt-in decision, was to hold semi-annual ‘Operational Reviews’ between FirstNet, AT&T and Colorado, to address PSBN deployment and related concerns. We will be working to define the structure of these reviews, everything that they will entail and share that information with all stakeholders. We welcome input regarding the Operational Review process.

The team will also be transitioning its focus to be broader and more inclusive of the broadband needs across Colorado. As mentioned, we will continue to be the primary state conduit for feedback and interaction with AT&T and FirstNet but will also be venturing into some new efforts. The team will become more integrated with the State Broadband Office (SBO) supporting the other efforts (rural and institutional broadband availability) and also expanding the programs of the SBO. Some of the specific programs we will focus on include: technology transition within public safety communications, development of a “Critical Communications” initiative in the state that combines public safety, transportation, 9-1-1, public health, etc., and working on facilitating enhanced data sharing across entities as technologies evolve. The team will continue to do outreach, education, and hold various events highlighting the previously mentioned focus areas. For example, we are currently working with the Mountain Connect Conference ( to develop a public safety/critical communications track at the 2018 conference.

We will soon be taking down the FirstNet Colorado website ( and integrating our web presence with the existing Colorado Broadband website ( This website will include a feedback form for FirstNet users to communicate their experiences, good or bad, with the network and help us to ensure the the best possible implementation within Colorado.

We will be rolling out our specific vision and programmatic approach very soon with additional details and specifics. This will include upcoming events, working groups and other initiatives. We will continue to base our efforts on the belief that we must work together, from the ground-up, in order to support Colorado’s broadband efforts and goals.

If you would like more information on the FirstNet decision and how the service might impact you, the team is available to talk with your jurisdiction, region, and organization. We have had productive discussions with a few jurisdictions already. Contact our team and we’ll come out to wherever you are.

Lastly, I would like to thank the FNC team, the FNCGB and all the other stakeholders who dedicated their time and energy to this endeavor over the past 5 years. Your commitment and effort have been invaluable, and have set the stage for continued cooperation and coordination across Colorado.

Thank you!


Monday, October 23, 2017

State Plan Agency Recommendations...the Clock is Ticking.

The final state plan was delivered on September 29, 2017, which triggered the statutory 90-day review period for the Governor.  The Governor's final decision is due by December 28, 2017.  Over 160 stakeholders across Colorado have access to view the State Plan Portal (SPP) and provide input to the FirstNet Colorado Governing Body (FNCGB).  If you represent a public safety agency and seek access to the SPP, please contact the Team.

The FNCGB is also seeking feedback from any other public safety stakeholders who desire to review Colorado's assessment of publicly available information.  To support these efforts, the FirstNet Colorado (FNC) team has been hosting regional meetings and is publishing a "Regional Checklist" for each All-Hazards Region and Tribe below to synthesize this data in an easily reviewable format.

All meetings are accessible on demand on the FNC YouTube page.

To download the checklist for your region, click one of the links below.  After reviewing a checklist, we ask agencies to submit an Agency Recommendation form, and send to by Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

Agency Recommendation Form

Northwest Region
Northeast Region
North Central Region
San Luis Valley Region
South Region
South Central Region
Southeast Region
Southwest Region - including the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
West Region

Please contact our team with any questions.  We thank you for taking time to provide input in this critical effort!
The FirstNet Colorado Team

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

We’re in the homestretch….

We hope everyone has had a great summer!  The FirstNet Colorado (FNC) team has been busy getting ready for the final Opt-in/Opt-out decision.  FirstNet/AT&T delivered the initial state plan on June 19th, which initiated the countdown to the final decision process.  The plan, in the format of an interactive website, highlighted the proposed coverage, initial rate plans, network architecture and other details of the national plan.  Approximately 150 stakeholders from across the state were given access to the secure website to review the content and provide feedback.  In addition to the individual review, the FNC team coordinated several working meetings with FirstNet and AT&T to provide the opportunity for in-depth discussions.   By the end of the review process, Colorado submitted over 140 unique comments and a report outlining key decision criteria based on interviews with local subject matter experts.

In general the feedback from local stakeholders centered on two overarching themes: the state plan lacked sufficient detail for leaders to make an informed decision and the coverage maps in the plan significantly overstated the existing coverage of AT&T.   In general, commenters sought additional details on security, initial and ongoing costs, specifics of the buildout process and on how AT&T would achieve proposed coverage.  

With Colorado’s comments in hand, FirstNet/AT&T now have up to 45 days (September 19th) to review our comments, modify the state plan accordingly and present the final state plan to the Governor.  Once the final state plan is presented, the 90 day ‘shot clock’ for the final decision will begin.  

So that’s the scoop on one half of the coin!  For the alternative plan, the FNC team issued Phase II guidance to both qualified bidders, Rivada and Macquarie, in July.  This guidance outlines the final proposal requirements and expectations.  The final proposals are due September 14th and will be scored by the review committee.  Our goal remains the same regarding the Opt-out review; we want enough information to fully vet both the Opt-in and Opt-out options so that Colorado can make an educated, informed decision.  

With the final decision coming this fall, the FNC team will be coordinating several regional meetings to review all the information with local stakeholders - we desire as much feedback as possible for the recommendation to the Governor.  At these meetings we will review both the final state plan from FirstNet/AT&T and the proposed solution from the chosen alternative plan vendor.  Check back here soon for details on these meetings!  

In addition to these meetings we will be providing regional ‘Review Checklists’ that will guide you through the key elements of the state plan so that your specific jurisdiction can review and make their recommendation for Opt-In/Opt-Out as well as considerations for adoption of the future network.
As always, we are focused on ensuring your voice is heard in this important decision!  The FirstNet Colorado Governing Body (FNCGB) will be the mechanism to funnel user feedback to the Governor for the final decision.  The FNCGB has been steadfast in their dedication to ensuring a fair and informative process; we couldn’t ask for a better group to lead this effort. Once the final state plan is released, we will be reaching out to you to coordinate the final push!  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Action Required! - Credentials needed to view State Plan for Colorado

FirstNet released the initial state plans for the national public safety broadband network (NPSBN) on Monday, June 19th.  Colorado’s plan is available online and can only be accessed with an authorized ID and password obtained from FirstNet. Reviewers will have the opportunity to view the full state plan and provide commentary.

Those who have participated in our governance and working groups have already been provided access.  In order to expedite the process of receiving your ID and password, please use the following link to provide FirstNet Colorado (FNC) with your name, title, organization, mobile number, and email address.  We ask that you only request access if you have been actively participating in our planning and/or intend to provide a thorough review and comment on the plan.  If you want to see the public website, visit

The timeframe for review and commentary on the state plan portal is through August 4, 2017.  We ask that you critically review the state plan and provide feedback before the 45 day shot-clock expires.

Thank you!
The FirstNet Colorado Team

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May the “Force” be with you

Over the past two years, the FirstNet Colorado (FNC) Outreach and Education Manager, Ed Mills, has been working diligently to provide a platform that would allow efficient and effective tracking of events, contacts and everything related to FirstNet planning. The new tool is called and the team just launched the 2.0 version in May!  This tool has been built to detailed specifications by the very capable Salesforce Administrator Thomas Ivy from the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) Salesforce Team. It will be used to track all public safety entities (PSE) in Colorado, engagement events, contacts made at events, conferences, and even some minor grant reporting. The long-term plan is to develop a robust directory of all the PSEs and contacts in Colorado, that in the future, may support multiple programs which track similar efforts.  For now, the FNC team is learning the new tool, populating it with information, working out the final kinks, and eager to see the tool streamline processes.  Stay tuned for more information on the technology the FirstNet Colorado team is deploying in support of broadband planning!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Why Would Your Agency Use FirstNet?

Now that FirstNet has selected AT&T as its partner to deploy the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), we want your help to know the criteria for an agency to consider purchasing FirstNet service. As the time approaches for the state plan to be delivered, the FirstNet Colorado team wants to better understand your beliefs, expectations, current services and purchasing processes for the NPSBN. Each section will have between 5-10 questions, some optional, to explore all of the topics previously mentioned. We ask that stakeholders take the survey by May 19th and please pay special attention to the demographics question at the end of the survey, this information is crucial for us.  Click here to access our short survey to gain key insights about your needs as public safety broadband consumers! If you want to see the questions first, view them here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What we’ve been preparing for

Well, after 5 years, countless miles and more PowerPoint presentations that we care to admit, 2017 will finally bring some clarity to the FirstNet initiative.

On March 30th, FirstNet awarded the contract to build the first National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) to AT&T. With this award, the countdown to Colorado making the decision to opt-in or out begins, with the final decision coming at the end of year. Based on the March 30th award here are some estimated key milestones:

  • May/June 2017 - Draft State Plans presented to states 
  • August/September 2017 - Final State Plans delivered to Governor 
  • November/December 2017 - Governor’s Opt-in/Out decision due

So how do we get from here to a decision? Here’s our plan.

To help determine the quality of the ‘opt-in’ scenario we have engaged Signals Analytics (who’s been on board from the beginning) to develop tools that will help local and state jurisdictions analyze the FirstNet state plan from their perspective. We will be answering these key questions:

  • What is the overall coverage and capacity for your jurisdictions? 
  • What are the immediate, recurring and long-term costs to adopt and utilize the FirstNet network? 
  • What will the operational and functional implications for jurisdictions be?

Signals will be working with local, state and tribal stakeholders to understand the specific elements that go into the analyses. By the time the final FirstNet state plan arrives we will have these tools completed and deliver them with the state plan. During the summer we will be on the road again to discuss the progress and prepare everyone

Since the beginning, our goal is to make the best decision for Colorado’s first responders by having a fully developed alternative (or opt-out) plan to compare with the FirstNet plan. OIT released an RFP on March 23rd for the alternative plan development. The RFP will be managed in two phases with the initial phase focusing on the base qualifications of responders to deliver an alternative solution. Phase II will be initiated if the initial draft state plan, provided by FirstNet, appears it will not meet the needs of Colorado. A representative group of local, tribal and state stakeholders will make up the RFP review committee and will include all disciplines and levels of government. Our goal is to have a winning bidder selected by the fall if needed.

We encourage you to visit our website often, as the flow of new information will increase significantly in the coming months. We intend to use this blog as a way of letting you know when there is significant news. So check back often!

It’s been a long journey to get to this point but we want to emphasize the importance of both the impending decision as well as your input to this decision. Public safety is at the forefront of a technological disruption not seen in a very long time. The approach we take with the FirstNet initiative will significantly impact how we approach our statewide communications for a generation. Let’s make sure you help us to make the best decision possible.