Please note: The Public Safety Broadband Network Commission was reconstituted in July 2019. Documents below may reference the now retired PSBC.
2020 FirstNet-AT&T Coverage Test Report
The Department of Public Safety administratively monitors the progress of the buildout in Vermont of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) that is overseen by the federal FirstNet Authority. AT&T is federally contracted with FirstNet to build, operate and maintain the broadband network for 25 years. In 2018, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded grants to states to support planning activities and to identify and document on-going coverage needs and gaps within a state. The purpose of this coverage validation testing is to assist in the creation of a reliable and robust public safety broadband network in Vermont.
Coverage validation results detailed in this report will be shared with FirstNet to ensure that Vermont’s public safety community has access to the coverage committed to the state. A central focus of the testing was to validate FirstNet stated coverage in Vermont against actual measured coverage. Coverage maps publicly available from FirstNet represent that much of Vermont currently has LTE with priority coverage. (https://www.firstnet.com/coverage) LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is a type of 4G technology that delivers some of the fastest speeds for streaming media, downloading data and browsing the web. However, the validation testing detailed in this report identified areas of concern where the service did not match the projected coverage.
The four locations chosen for testing were selected based on: (1) first responder coverage concerns in areas where FirstNet maps indicated coverage; (2) locations that were in areas not scheduled for new FirstNet tower builds during the initial 5-year buildout period; and (3) the presence of previously identified public safety priority areas within the testing area. (2015, State of Vermont: FirstNet Data Collection--Development of Coverage Objectives) Validation testing was done in September and October of 2019. DPS anticipates doing additional testing within the grant period.
GAO Survey of State SPOCs - Vermont Response
In May 2019, the GAO sent out a survey to the designated State Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for FirstNet in each state. Terry LaValley, the DPS Director of Radio Technology Services, is Vermont's SPOC.
2018 Application Use Survey & Report
As Vermont anticipates the buildout of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the Department of Public Safety and the Public Safety Broadband Network Commission (PSBC) would like to better understand how Vermont's first responders are currently using broadband. A 15-question online survey was created to (1) determine responders' rating of current broadband coverage and their use of it; (2) examine current and projected uses of applications and determine those areas responders would like more information and education; and (3) identify factors that are limiting responders' use of wireless technology. There were 404 public safety organizations and individual first responders asked to participate in the survey. The survey opened on November 5, 2018 and was closed on December 10, 2018. There were 115 responses received to the survey--a response rate of 28 percent. DPS and the PSBC appreciates the effort made by Vermont's first responder community to respond to this survey.
2018 Vermont Telecommunications Plan
On November 14, 2018, the Department of Public Service released the 2018 Vermont Telecommunications Plan. Public Safety Radio Technology Services and work related to FirstNet are discussed in the infrastructure section of the plan. This information is located on page 23 of the report.
2015 Survey of First Responders: Overview
From June to September 2015, the Vermont Public Safety Broadband Network Commission team participated in a national survey to collect data from Vermont's first responder community to send to FirstNet. This data is being used to inform the build out of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The goal of the survey was to better understand the mobile wireless usage of Vermont's first responders. There were public safety entities in Vermont that completed the survey, representing almost of the public safety entities in the state. There were Vermont public safety personnel represented in the survey response.
State of Vermont FirstNet Data Collection: Development of Coverage Objectives