FirstNet to get new contracting officer

FirstNet will replace its current contracting officer, Terrie Callahan, with Gregory Ruderman from the U.S. Department of the Interior as Callahan will actually take a job within FirstNet, according to IWCE's Urgent Communications.

Callahan served as the contracting officer at FirstNet when it released its draft request for proposals (RFP) last spring and its final RFP in January. Callahan will leave her current post at the U.S. Department of the Interior this month to join FirstNet.

"Terrie Callahan will be coming in house at FirstNet in May," FirstNet spokeswoman April Ward told IWCE's Urgent Communications. "She will be working in the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer and will work closely with DOI on the RFP. We're pleased she is joining the FirstNet team and expect it to be a seamless transition to the new contracting officer."

FirstNet has said it remains on track to award a contract for the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) by Nov. 1. The deadline for proposals from those interested in deploying the network is May 31.

AT&T (NYSE: T) has said it would aggressively pursue the opportunity, but T-Mobile US CTO Neville Ray last week told analysts during the company's quarterly conference call that it would probably sit this one out. "Obviously, we are very supportive of the objectives of the FirstNet team and what they're trying to get done for the good of public safety, it's a big goal," Ray said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

"I think, for us, at this point in time, we've talked a lot about where we are with the low band push and that's the primary focus for us at this point in time, both in terms of rolling out and continuing this rapid rollout of 700 megahertz and in addition… Timing is not great for us in terms of that opportunity and maybe the complexity it could bring to our business at a point in time when we're driving so hard on low band rollouts. So, at this point in time, nothing to really update," he said.

FirstNet's RFP seeks proposals to build and operate a nationwide public-safety broadband network that meets 16 core objectives for first-responder communications. In return, the selected contractor will get access to 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum that is licensed to FirstNet that can be leveraged to sell services to public-safety users on a priority basis and to commercial users on a secondary basis. The chosen contractor also gets access to $6.5 billion in federal funding.

For more:
- see IWCE's Urgent Communications article

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