About BayRICS, CalFRN and FirstNet
For more information about BayRICS, please contact:
Barry Fraser, General Manager
4985 Broder Blvd
Dublin, CA 94568
What Is BayRICS?
The Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications System Joint Powers Authority (BayRICS) was established in August 2011 to oversee advanced public safety communications projects, such as FirstNet. Members of BayRICS include six Bay Area Counties, plus the City and County of San Francisco, City of Oakland, and City of San Jose.
The BayRICS General Manager is tasked with monitoring the progress of FirstNet, keeping members up-to-date on the status and timeline of network deployment, developing policies and procedures for regional governance, and providing recommendations to members regarding adoption and usage of FirstNet services when they become available.
What Is FirstNet? What is CalFRN?
In 2012, Congress created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) within the Department of Commerce. FirstNet is charged with creating a nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety that will use “Long Term Evolution” (LTE) technology standards, similar to existing commercial broadband wireless networks. Public safety groups had pressed for legislation to build a nationwide network for several years in response to the 9/11 tragedy and subsequent 9/11 Commission Report.
FirstNet works directly with the states to plan and build the nationwide network in each state. In California, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) heads up the planning and decision-making effort for FirstNet. CalOES has established the California First Responder Network Authority (CalFRN), which provides coordination and recommendations for FirstNet. BayRICS is a member of the CalFRN Board.
Current Status and Timeline
On March 30, 2017, FirstNet awarded 25-year agreement to AT&T Inc. to build the nationwide network. On December 28, 2017, California accepted a plan from AT&T and FirstNet to deploy FirstNet in California. Beginning in 2018, AT&T will offer FirstNet services to public safety agencies in California. Local agencies are not required to adopt FirstNet service, and may use a competing carrier service, or choose no service at all.
Next Steps for Local Agencies
The decision to adopt FirstNet requires a complex review and evaluation of all the options. It is essential that public safety agencies pay attention to this process and carefully review both FirstNet and competing services. BayRICS has developed a list of Initial Questions for agencies to help guide them through the evaluation process.
FirstNet is a complex initiative with many moving parts. If you have questions or need additional details, contact BayRICS GM Barry Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the BayRICS.net website and General Manager's Blog is a good source of up-to-date information and reports on FirstNet activities.