Motorola Solutions addresses FirstNet allegations, NTIA hands out $13.1M

The latest news surrounding the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet) concerns Motorola Solutions' lobbying activities and the awarding of grants to five states under the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) being run by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Bob Schassler, Motorola Solutions

Schassler (Image source: Motorola Solutions)

In an interview with MissionCritical Communications, Bob Schassler, Motorola Solutions senior vice president of government solutions, addressed two recent Politico articles that charged the vendor has been aggressively campaigning against FirstNet. The authority is planning the 700 MHz LTE-based nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).

Asked whether Motorola Solutions has lobbied state or local officials for or against FirstNet, he replied, "No, we've been asked by our local officials how it should be rolled out. We've given direct input to what our ideas are, but nothing that we haven't communicated to FirstNet and in replying to the RFIs (requests for information)."

Schassler also shot down a rumor indicating Motorola Solutions provided input to help FirstNet board member Paul Fitzgerald draft his April 23 motion for a resolution declaring that the development plan for the NPSBN has been flawed due to possible conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts.

"No, we weren't involved at all," he said.

Schassler added Motorola Solutions has always been ready to share its technical opinion whenever public-safety customers around the country have asked about issues such as sharing spectrum, architecture, local control, devices and the roles of operators. "There won't be anything we're saying to our customers that FirstNet won't know about. We haven't changed our opinion on anything, and we've been very forthright on communicating those views to the FCC and FirstNet," he added.

Fitzgerald, meanwhile, recently returned to full-time work in his role as sheriff of Story County, Iowa, following a severe attack of Guillain-Barre syndrome that began May 7, reported the Ames Tribune.

In other FirstNet news, the U.S. Commerce Department's NTIA has awarded $13.1 million in grants under the SLIGP to five states: Colorado ($2.5 million), Connecticut ($1.4 million), Delaware ($724,613), New York ($4.86 million) and Ohio ($3.6 million).

The awards are aimed at supporting state planning, consultation and outreach activities of these states as they consult with FirstNet on deployment of the NPSBN. The funding does not cover network design or deployment activities.

All 56 U.S. states and territories were eligible to apply for the grants and are required to provide a matching contribution of at least 20 percent.

For more:
- see this MissionCritical Communications article
- see this Ames Tribune article
- see this FirstNet release

Related articles:'
FirstNet: Mississippi halts BTOP program, Motorola Solutions accused of unsavory lobbying
FirstNet board OKs spending increase, continues special review process
FirstNet's future depends on state and local support, says Harris exec
FirstNet appoints special review committee to investigate its practices
Mutiny at FirstNet as board member alleges improprieties

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