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Blog // Connect Michigan

Changing the Face of Public Safety and Emergency Communications in Iowa

By Jessica Denson

The Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System Board (ISICSB) FirstNet Metro Outreach for Iowa Homeland Security Region 1 meeting was held March 22 in Des Moines, Iowa. The goal was to provide an update on FirstNet and the Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communication System (ISICS). 

ISICS goal is to provide interoperable communications across Iowa to public safety agencies. ISICS is a 700 MHz P25 TDMA radio system. Once complete, it’s expected to deliver 95% coverage, improving emergency communications for Iowa’s first responders. 

Funded through a state legislative appropriation, buildout of the communication system is set to be completed by year-end 2017 and the close out of the project is set for July 2018. 

Connect Iowa’s Shawn Wagner (pictured left, presenting during meeting) updated attendees on FirstNet, covering the basics of this important program.

·         Funding – FirstNet is funded by spectrum auctions through 2022, and $6.5 billion has been authorized for the nationwide buildout.

·         Reviewing State Plans – Wagner explained the process of how Iowa will evaluate the primary vendor’s state plan.

·         FirstNet has resolved the lawsuit as part of the RFP award process. The FirstNet Board is scheduled to hold a special meeting on Tuesday March 28, 2017.

What’s next?

The State Point of Contact (SPOC), ISICS Board, and the ISICSB FirstNet Broadband Committee will review the primary vendor’s plan before making recommendations to the Governor of Iowa.

The ISICSB FirstNet Broadband Committee has been charged with outreach, Opt-In/Out assessment, public/private summits, and, in general, making sure the ISICS Board and public safety agencies are kept aware of FirstNet and FirstNet decisions across the nation.

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