FAQ | TACN FirstNet

What is the difference between FirstNet and TACN FirstNet?

FirstNet is an independent authority under the federal Department of Commerce and will ensure the build, operation, and maintenance of a nationwide interoperable broadband network for public safety. TACN FirstNet represents our efforts to plan with FirstNet for this network in Tennessee, for Tennessee.

Who is leading the FirstNet effort in Tennessee?

Governor Haslam has selected the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to be responsible for FirstNet planning in Tennessee. Director Arnold Hooper, with the Tennessee Highway Patrol Wireless Communications Division, has been appointed the Governor’s broadband coordinator and is the Single State Point of Contact for FirstNet.

How is Tennessee planning for FirstNet?

Though the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is responsible for FirstNet planning in Tennessee, it is our desire that this network be built FOR all public safety agencies in the state. To do this, we need input FROM all public safety agencies. We have developed a governance structure, with a very diverse membership, that we feel well represents public safety agencies within Tennessee. We will also be conducting regional outreach conferences to gather input and disseminate information regarding FirstNet. You can view upcoming events on our Calendar.

I am very interested in FirstNet; how can I be involved?

You can be involved by becoming a member of this site, attending our regional outreach conferences, and contacting us through this website. We welcome and need your input!

Geographically, Tennessee is a very diverse state and commercial coverage is weak in some locations, how will TACN FirstNet solve this issue for public safety?

TACN FirstNet and the FirstNet network will utilize cutting-edge communication technology, such as deployables and satellites, to provide public safety with the ability to communicate in areas under-served by commercial carriers.

Is participation in TACN FirstNet mandatory?

For public safety agencies, participation in the TACN FirstNet network will be voluntary and by subscription.

Who will be able to subscribe to the TACN FirstNet network?

This will largely be decided by current and future interpretation of Federal laws and guidelines. It is our hope that the TACN FirstNet governance body will also be able to provide input, as Tennessee is a very unique state when it comes to public safety and emergency response. Emergency responders in Tennessee can include governmental and non-governmental organizations. Eligible users should become better defined as we move through the planning process. Currently, FirstNet defines the primary users as Fire, EMS, law enforcement, and public safety answering points (PSAPs).

Will TACN FirstNet replace my current land mobile radio (LMR) system?

TACN FirstNet and FirstNet will not replace traditional LMR systems such as TACN. Though FirstNet desires to build a public safety grade communications network that will include voice and data, LMR systems will continue to provide mission critical voice service for the foreseeable future.

How will the state of Tennessee pay for such a robust network?

Upon conclusion of the consultation phase between FirstNet and the State, FirstNet will deliver a state plan to the Governor. This plan will outline the characteristics of the interoperable broadband network in Tennessee and how FirstNet intends to build the network. The Governor will then choose to opt-in or opt-out of the state plan. If the Governor chooses to opt-in, the network will be built by FirstNet, with no cost to the State.

What are your main goals in planning this network?

We keep four tenets in mind as we plan for the TACN FirstNet network:

  1. Coverage – build the network where public safety needs it most.
  2. Reliability — public safety can bet their lives on it.
  3. Resiliency — multiple back-up options and there when you need it.
  4. Build a network that can be a trusted resource for public safety.
Who owns the D-Block spectrum?

The single, nationwide license was granted to FirstNet by the Federal Communications Commission.

How will local control be established?

FirstNet is currently working with the Public Safety Advisory Council to create options. No information is currently available, but local control is being addressed as part of the plan.

How will they cover the cost of backhaul? How will costs be approved?

This will be determined as the business models are developed.

What is “spectrum?”

Spectrum refers to the radio frequency in a specific band. When the public had to move to digital TV, that frequency (700 MHZ/Band-14) was given to FirstNet to manage for Public Safety.

Is FirstNet a Federal Agency?

FirstNet is an independent body that operates within the structure of NTIA and the Department of Commerce.

Is FirstNet priority access controlled by FirstNet, the State, or local users?

The definition of local control is still under development.

Why is mission critical voice for LTE not developed?

The LTE standards for mission critical voice have not yet been developed and are likely several years away. Mission critical voice standards include push-to-talk, one to many, and direct talk modes (for when towers are down). None of these standards have been developed for LTE.

What standards are being used to design the network?

This will largely be decided by current and future interpretation of Federal laws and guidelines. It is our hope that the TACN FirstNet governance body will also be able to provide input, as Tennessee is a very unique state when it comes to public safety and emergency response. Emergency responders in Tennessee can include governmental and non-governmental organizations. Eligible users should become better defined as we move through the planning process. Currently, FirstNet defines the primary users as Fire, EMS, law enforcement, and public safety answering points (PSAPs).

Once it’s built out, what will subscribers have to pay?

No pricing models exist. FirstNet would be a new wireless data provider. You will decide if you want to subscribe or stay with your current data plan/provider. If there isn’t a comparable value proposition, you aren’t compelled to sign on.

What about other users: if there is high network demand in CA, does it affect Tennessee?

No. This is a local high-speed wireless data network and capacity is local.

Who will notify us on next steps?

If you are registered on the site TACN FirstNet site, you will receive regular information updates on planning and next steps.

We’re concerned about legislation and potential political changes and how they may impact this process. Specifically, is there a mechanism to prevent the private sector from taking this over?

In terms of control, FirstNet owns this spectrum…not the private sector. Any private sector capacity option must adhere to the guidelines that have been established. Public Safety chooses how the network operates.

What are the in-building penetration plans?

These will be topics of ongoing national discussion.

How will FirstNet keep this up to date and ensure it won’t be obsolete before the network is deployed?

For the first time, public safety communications will be based on commercial standards. Among the potential benefits include lower costs, consumer-driven economies of scale, and rapid evolution of advanced communication capabilities.

Need to Talk?

If you have more questions, send us a message and we will answer you as soon as possible.