One aspect of FirstNet that I truly respect is the fact that they are funded, organized and empowered regarding their mission. They have the potential to positively impact Public Safety on a national level.
Things are not as well defined with NextGen 9-1-1. At the state level, we currently have extremes regarding 9-1-1 Boards and their authority. While some states are up and running with NextGen, others are struggling with the initial planning. Two States (Wisconsin and Missouri) do not even have a state level 9-1-1 Board.
Laurie Flaherty and her team @ 911.GOV have done a great job collecting and interpreting data from states.
Depending on the specific details, Home Rule can play a major role in the lack of centralized authority for 9-1-1.
There are initiatives today at the federal level regarding funding for Next Generation 9-1-1. We do not want the scenario of a state receiving funding for NextGen without a definitive plan. For those states that do not yet have a plan in place, one option is to engage the Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications.
This VIDEO may prove of interest. I participate as a subject matter expert (SME) for DHS and believe this program to be of tremendous value.
On June 21, 2016 Jeff McLeod, Director of the National Governors Association (NGA) “Center for Best Practices, Homeland Security and Public Safety Division”, testified before a Senate subcommittee on FirstNet.
Part of his comments “States have identified potential obstacles and challenges surrounding the implementation of FirstNet around issues of coverage, cost and consultation. Governors will weigh these and other factors as they decide whether to opt in or opt out of FirstNet.”
Clearly, Governors and their staff have been briefed on FirstNet, to the point where their national association (NGA) felt that it was important they testify before the U.S. Senate.
I believe that there are numerous states where both the Governor and staff are not aware of the Next Generation 9-1-1 initiative, much less the State role and responsibilities.
I have personally heard stories from around the country where a proposed 9-1-1 service fee increase did not survive, mainly because it was viewed as a tax increase. Some states (New Mexico, for example- pocket veto by Governor Susana Martinez) have tried unsuccessfully to have legislation passed to receive 9-1-1 revenue from prepaid cell phones. As the consumer market shifts, and prepaid gains a larger share of the market, these revenues are simply lost, negatively affecting day-to-day 9-1-1 operations.
Here is the New Mexico Revenue chart.
If you include those states where 9-1-1 funds are simply ‘raided’ for other uses, it would seem that there is a need to educate and gain support of Governors and their staff
Individuals in the 9-1-1 community have a long list of skill sets, however we may now need to add additional training to be a certified ‘lobbyist’.