Review of FirstNet's activities churns on

In May, the board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) approved the creation of the review committee to investigate whether the board has complied with federal rules that apply to its hiring, sourcing and meeting practices in its efforts to set up the LTE-based National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The review committee was proposed at an April 23 meeting by board member Paul Fitzgerald, sheriff of Story County, Iowa, who alleged a number of improprieties and questionable backroom dealings at FirstNet. That review is ongoing, but it's unclear how much progress has been made. A spokesman for the Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General would neither confirm nor deny to FierceBroadbandWireless whether the OIG might also be looking into FirstNet's activities. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which oversees FirstNet, is part of the Commerce Department. As FierceBroadbandWireless Editor Tammy Parker writes, it is crucial that the special review committee act independently to honestly assess any conflicts of interests or perceived conflicts of interest that could taint FirstNet and its mission to improve communications for first responders. But a few observers find it unsettling that the committee is dominated by FirstNet insiders and headed by Wellington Webb, a FirstNet board member. Editor's Corner