FirstNet moves toward final RFP with update to functions, operational architecture

The First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, has released an updated operational architecture following feedback from its industry day on Aug. 27.

The organization, which has been tasked with creating a unified national first responders' network as the final recommendation of the 9/11 commission, announced four alterations in its operational architecture documents in a blog post on Friday, the 14th anniversary of the attack that spurred its creation.

The first was the addition of 32 new functions in the structure of the organization, bringing the total number of functions from 615 to 647. Further, accompanying titles and descriptions received updates to further clarify roles and include more details. The third was an update to descriptions in the organization's functions in order to "reflect a more action-oriented function, versus a simple definition of the task." Finally, FirstNet's operational architecture now indicates ownership of each function at the behest of outsider feedback and FirstNet's own analysis. Each function indicates responsibility of either FirstNet, public safety, a prime contractor or shared responsibility.

"The big news is that all of our colors are filled in now," said spokesman Ryan Oremland of the color-coded functions ownership chart. "When we released this in April, 80 of the 615 functions were colored in. That led to expanding the number of functions, as well as filling them in."

FirstNet was unable to provide further information on the specific additions to the architecture at press time.

These updates, as well as the addition of several functions and descriptions, came as the result of more than 10,000 comments from a variety of stakeholders, including interested parties in the telecom industry, as well as government agencies on the state, local and even tribal level. The organization has spent the past year responding to comments and questions on its draft Request for Proposals (RFP) in order to fine-tune its role and the role of its future contractors.

While it remains to be seen how outside parties will participate in FirstNet's network in the future, Oremland said the organization's transparency in its movements toward a final RFP should be a draw for potential partners.

"Our goal from the beginning has been to design an open and iterative approach to facilitate bidder interest in the final RFP, so we believe steps like this, along with our vendor outreach and industry days, will have a positive impact," he said.

For more:
- see FirstNet's blog post
- see the updated documents

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