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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 11, 2015 8:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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guidance to government employees to ensure government records created on their personal e-mail are filled away. so those have been clarified since secretary clinton took office. with -- we are making sure she lived up to the records act and she has done that. >> coming up tonight, federal communication's commissioner chair tom wheeler talks about the vote on the open internet rules. and the discussion on establishing the first public wireless safety network and a look at the epa's proposed gas emissions rules and what they mean for individual states. >> now, federal communication's
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commissioner chair tom wheeler tells open internet advocates that the fcc vote on internet rules was the proudest moment in his public life. the event focused on the recent vote and work with the fcc's spectrum office. it runs 20 minutes. >> good evening, everybody. so great to see all of you. i think we have more here tonight than last year. the gentlemen i am about to talk to and introduce also needs no introduction he is the man of the hour as someone at my table said. i think he is a man of courage and we all applaud this service and creativeity and the inspiration he has brought to the federal communication
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system. we are excited to hear what you have to say and grateful for your time tonight. please join me in welcoming chairman tom wheeler. [applause] hello. >> how are you doing? >> nice party you are having. >> just having a couple friends over. >> it is great to be here. >> thank you for joining us. we are so grateful. you have been busy. >> every day at the fcc is like sunday on the farm. you know? quite, laidback you know it is a great time to be at the commission right now. >> this is the job you signed up for -- net neutrality spectrum
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auctions mergers -- this is what you wanted? >> absolutely. i mean how lucky can you be to be in the middle of the greatest work revolution of the last 150 years? you know and i know that just michael riley and rosenwith, two fellow commissioners are here tonight and i think we all feel that same way. we are incrediblely blessed to be at this point in history. it is funny, you know when the president asked me to take this job i was writing another book and this one was on networks in history.
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i was operating on the thee thesis of the four great invepgzs. printing press railroad telegraph, and now today. and all of a -- invention -- sudden i move from looking at it academically to living it. it is a great privilege and a great opportunity. this is exciting times. >> we are living inning exciting times. you said the day of the net newtrality -- net neutrality vote was the greatest day of your year. why? >> before i answer that i say i hope it was a proud day for you and cbc as well because the
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leadership that you showed, the thought leadership that you showed and how you handled this process was very important. yeah i agree. [applause] >> i have been kicking around the policy groups for 40 years and the comment i made was it was the proudest moment of my public policy career. because let's face it as we were talking a minute ago. what we are dealing with is the most powerful and pervasive platform in the history of our
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planet and how are we going to deal with it. the exciting thing about history is watching how economics and society dealt with the changes in network technology that were affecting the very fabric of life. that is the challenge that we face on this issue. and it makes no sense to have this incredibly powerful platform without a set of groundrules and without having somebody on the field who can throw the flag if the ground rules are broken. and that is what we are trying to do with the open internet rule and i think we succeeded.
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[applause] >> anything more you want tell us about the rule? >> the problem is that i can talk about the open internet rules through the main course, desert, and coffee course but you might want to talk about something else. i don't know. >> you know i spent most of my career in the privacy so people on the privacy side are worried about the reclassification and your relationship to the consumer and their privacy online and the fcc. tell us more about what your thinking is. >> i know the chairwoman ramirez is here and other condition commissioners from the fcc and one of the thing we have been working on is making sure that our two agencies which frequently have authority, are
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working together and i expect we will see that continue on the privacy issues. the fcc has done a terrific job dealing with privacy issues. cheering section back there? [applause] >> but the other part about it is we didn't just fall off the turnip truck. and you know for the last couple of decades the fcc has had responsibility for telecommunication carriers and privacy issues. and we take that responsibility seriously and i think that we have exercised that responsibility diligently and now we have the responsibility of saying okay in this newly
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structured environment what do we do. and next month we are bringing together various players to bring together people and say let's focus specifically on a workshop what needs to be done post-open internet order to deal with broadband privacy issue for the newly classified telecommunication service providers and broadband. but this is not a secondary activity or an oh by the way thing. privacy is an important issue to us and will probably grow in importance. >> so the rules, at least what we know of them, look a lot different than where we started. there are a few zigs and zags on the way. tell us about the pivoting
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moments and your influences and how you got to where you are. >> the interesting thing about the rulemaking process is most people think of it as a ridged turgid process when actually it is quite fluid. and one of the things that i've tried to do every since i came in was to say that we would not put out an nprm that did not have a set of rebutable pre presumptions in it saying where we are going. a lot of time they say tell us what you think about them. it is hard to know where to focus. so we said we think section 706 is a way to attack this problem
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and reinstate the 2010 rules and we asked specifically asked the question should title ii be used as a better alternative? i think we got an answer. and we learned a lot through this whole process. you know thanks to gggig iwho is here. i want to join in that applause. gigi dragged me around the country to meet with consumer groups innovators, financers,
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the public and to engage in a dialog and the thing that i learned in that process and through thoughtful filings like yours and others, is that the test of commercial reasonalableness of 706, i thought i knew what it means, but when you start looking at putting the term commercially in front of the word reasonable it can lead to very different outcomes. and if the interpretation of the new concept was to be what is reasonable for commercial
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networks rather than what is reasonable for innovators or consumers that was the wrong question and the wrong answer. [applause] >> and so it was based on that that i started saying well we need to look at the justin reasonable test which leads us to title ii. and combining title ii and section 706 to have a one-two punch. so it is a very fluid process like i said. and i think that the result of that kind of a fluid process, that kind of a listening and learning has produced a far better outcome. >> second? >> so others in our community
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are a little bit concerned and cyber recently reemerged as the hot word of the month. is there going to be some kind of constraints on broadband ability to ward off cyber security threats? are we worried about a new claim? we are concerned about those issues. >> one of the fascinating things and you know having spent a lot of time lobbying the fcc and the congress -- >> you did that? >> one of the fascinating things i experience almost every single day is sitting in my office and remembering the times i walk in that office and pounded the table talked about impending doom if you didn't do what i wanted. so when i hear the same thing i
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become aneured. one of the things opponents of open internet like to talk about was if you are going to ban blocking you are not going to allow us to block other kinds of evil things are happening. baloney. let me be clear. let me be clear that we are talking about protecting lawful content. okay? not unlawful content. and that the security of our networks is right alongside the openness of our networks in terms of priority that we should be responsible for and we should be worrying about. in so far as cliea's concern and
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i was around for the birth of this and this has always been a balancing act between privacy and security. i don't think anyone can happen to change that. >> so you have gotten poplar on capital hill lately spending time up there in the committee hearings. what are the prospects for moving forward in a collaborative way with your friends on capital hill? >> well first of all, they are the congress. okay? they write the laws. what we were trying to do was implement the statues that congress had given us. it was always within congress' purview to say time out, i want
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to zig left instead of zag right. i think i have a good relationship with the leaders and doesn't mean we always agree but we can have open and direct conversation and we do have. i am interested in what they are interested in and where they want to go but at the base of things i think that we have in a 3-2 vote two weeks ago established the gold standard for what open internet protections are all about. [applause] >> you have 22 months what else
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will you get done? >> who is counting. >> you corrected me. i thought it was 20. >> that is true. i said i have 22 months left. so i think there is a couple things. number one there are four goals. one unleashing the power of broadband. it is one thing to talk about broadband. but talking about broadband is like saying railroad, railroad. it was what the railroad enabled that was important. we need to focus on what we started with e-rate but need to finish in terms of e-rate modernization and what we have to do in terms of making sure there is access tr those in challenging situations whether
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it be in rule america or economic limitations that keep you from having access and things like the life line program. we have to look at the evolving market in terms of over the top video and this sort of thing. we have to worry a lot about privacy. we have got to -- i have been adamant from day one that we have a responsibility to make sure that this new technology is being used to attack the challenges of american's with disabilities because there is no capabilities that are made available by ip and we need to make sure they happen. one is how do you unleash. second thing is you have to have broadband and spectrum. if the network of the 21st
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century is wireless you have to have enough spectrum. we have all seen the studies about the demand and where that is going. so obviously we finished the ms-3 auction. we have the first incentive auction coming up next we're and we have the reports on 3 gigahertz which has high-speed, internet access and we have lots of things we want to do in terms of unlicelicense. number three in the collection is maybe you have heard competition, competition, competition. competition is the consumer's best protector and the innovator's best friend.
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and the whole question of transitioning from analog networks to ip bring as whole raff of challenges there. and the fourth issue we have already discussed which is public safety and national security. i mean we have got to have 911 systems that work. we just you know put in place a set of rules that provide for location accuracy for wireless subscribers but you have to ask yourself the question why are we looking six years down the road for the standards to go into affect when today i can use uber and the cab comes to my house. how do we have uber 911?
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we will have a workshop in april where we are talking and bringing players together from the application community, wireless and public safety community to talk about how do we build a standardized infrastructure with open api's so creative appel developers can build something that will interface with a common access to equipment used at p-sap. 22 months is a short of fe period of time when we have a lot to get done. >> you will do all of that? >> or die trying. >> you better get home and get to work. thank you for welcoming chairman
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wheeler. thank you. [applause] >> tomorrow we are live in new hampshire with more of continuing the road to the whitehouse. we will see more from rick perry who is in manchester. it is live at 8:30 a.m. eastern. >> on the next washington journal, club for growth president discusses his groups look at congress and how they vote on economic and limited government legislation. and will marshal of the progressive policy institute talks about the recent policy agenda released by the whitehouse democratic coalition. plus your calls and tweets. washington journal, live every morning at 7 a.m. eastern on
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c-span. >> here are some of the featured programs for this weekend. saturday, booktv is live from the university of arizona with discussions on race, politics civil war and by nation magazine writers and call-ins throughout the day. sunday at one we continue with panels on the obama administration, the future of politics, and the issue of concussions in football. and saturday morning on c-span 3 we are live for the 16th civil war seminar and talking about the closing weeks of the civil war in 1865. and sunday morning at nine we continue live coverage with remarks on surrender of the confederacy and the immigration of confederates to brazil.
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call us and let us know what you think about the programs you are watching e-mail us or send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> the political landscape change would the 114th congress. 43 new republicans and 15 new democrats in the house and 12 new republicans and 1 new democrat in the senate. there are eight women in the house including the first african-american in the senate and veteran in the house. the congressional chronicle passenger has lots of useful information including voting results and specifics about each session. new congress, best access.
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next the senate commerce committee looks at the progress in establishing the nation's first wireless public safety network called safe net. safe net board members approved notice for allowing state and tarries to opt out. states can adopt the plan or create their own radio access network that meets safe net's standards. this is just over two hours. live from capital hill:
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>> this hearing will come to order. in 2012 congress stbestablished first net for america's first responders. today's hearing will examine the challenges and the problems they are facing as they move forward with building a platform for the country's emergency personal. the spectrum act has been enacted and we are on the way of releasing our draft for proposals but we are a long way
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away from having a public safety network. there are many things that can go wrong unless decisions are good made. the rfp gives us a sense of whether a network can be build in a cost effective way that secures future generations. they must work to make themselves a self-funding entity. we are con fronted with many pressing and unanswered questions due the complexity of establishing a system. stakeholders have questions about what first net means for them. there are concerns about how much network access cost local police and fire departments dealing with constrained budget. and it is competitive and many wonder if is going to be better than what first responders currently use.
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feminist first net is aware of these issues. last year, we will hear from mr. gold goldstein about the problems they find and hopefully we will take the views to build the network. i also ask first net to implement a detailed plan building upon the valuable lessons learned from the earlier projects. without a plan first net might not take advantage of the sizable investment that has been made. in the inspector general released a report that raises the ethics and concerns and practice. i look forward to what he have learn and if the i g's finding
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have been addressed. the department of commerce is at a crucial stage and should ask if they are being the best partner and facilitating a safety network that will make us all secure. being an independent authority there is risk and first net was asked if they are on the path becoming like the obamacare website that failed during the rollout. the challenge of setting up this network is many times grater. i encourage to department to learn from the many mistakes of the health care website. first net has many answers they need answered to be successful. to which degree will the first responders wish to join a network?
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what is the value? who exactly will be permitted to use the public safety network? as this committee proceeds with oversight of first net i will focus on if a high quality and useful network can be offered to first responders in rural america. they will be a failure if they leave populations uncovered. we have an experienced and knowledgeable panel today and i expect the testimony will provide insight with the issues i have raised. i will yield to the senator from florida. senator nelson. >> i know the committee members would like to hear my tones but i would prefer to hear the witnesses so i will enter my remark for the record. >> very good. we will get underway. i want to start by introducing our panel today. first we have bruce andrews who is deputy secretary at the
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department of commerce and brian is next and he is the fire chief of the oklahoma city department. and mark goldstein who serves at the government account lit office. susan swinson who serves as the chair woman of the first responder network authority also known as first net. and mr. todd zinser who is inspector general to the department of commerce. we will start on my left and your right with mr. andrews. if you can keep the comments con confined to five minutes. >> good morning chairman ranking member nelson and member of the committee. thank you for having me testify. i worked on the staff of this committee when senator rock
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feller and hutchinson conceived of safe net and this mission erose in the wake of the 9/11 attacks when the work of the first responder was impaired by the problem with communication. we are proud of ow role helping to stand up and support this program. this is a difficult mission but we are confidant first net is making strong progress toward meeting its goals. a nationwide first responder network will enhance safety public communications across agencies and jurisdictions. first net is an independent authority within the national tell communication and information administration to develop and maintain this network. this is one of the most significant initiatives and it is challenging the self
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sustaining world class network within the government. that has challenges suffice to say. the department supports and oversees first net. senior leadership from the department, nti and first net meet on a regular bases to discuss the status milestones and potential risks. now it is maturing it depends less on our staff in day to day activities but we continue to offer support and guidance to first net and its strategic development. secretary zinsor and are i committed to this. we developed a strategic road map in the cost model and val dated by outside experts. we provide legal, human resources and administrative support to first net where they don't have tlar own resources or direct authority. in doing so we seek to
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streamline and expedite federal policies. we work on statutory compliance internal controls and annual audits. ncia ad ministers the state grant program as well. in december, the department's inspector general issued an audit report regarding the management of concern reports and monitoring of certain contracts. we appreciate the attorney general general's effort and took the matters seriously and conquered with the recommendations and took a number of step do is address them. it is important to emphasis the report focused on the early operations and highlight the department's full effort on these matters. first net needs public and private sector board members with deep technical experience
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in wireless broadband communication. to get such board members it was likely they would retain interest and affilations with the industry thus creating a need to consider potential conflicts of interest. the department anticipated this through a robust program that worked to counsel people regarding their employment and financial interest. some administrative requirements may not have been filled board members made the necessary disclosures. the inspector general's report didn't show violations ofb conflict of interest laws or decision making. it is important to note the first net contracts resulted in valuable work product that is critical to the rapid establishment of this organization and to your point about getting this out as quickly as we can.
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administrative errors were made and the department took them seriously. for example, we are implementing review of financial disclosure reports and increasing potential conflict review and working to ensure that employees receive appropriate ethics training. first net has grown significantly and it is in a stronger position to exercise their own governance oversight, provide clear direction and structure for the organization. i think it is important we emphasis appreciation to the private sector board members because they are making significant sacrifices in an important goal and trying to do it the right way. first net is achieving its mile stones relate today state and public comment. it is fully funded due to the proceeds from the fcc's resent auction.
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we understand some deadlines have not and will not be met. none of that underlines the word being made by this terrific team. creating a public safety wireless network is a major undertaking. we take our responsibility tr the project seriously and we will continue to help ensure that first net succeeds. as you can see first net is making strong progress toward their goals. i appreciates your time and welcome the questions. >> chief brian?
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>> i would like to thank the board for allowing me to come talk about the progress made by the first responder network authority or first net. anita haidaryfirst net's goal is a matter of critical importance for public safety. the task will not be easy, the ifc believes they are developing what is needed from stake holders to make this network a reality. as a fire chief and firefighter who responded to natural disasters and major acts of terrorism i know first hand the benefits of the first net will offer in terms of improving
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coordination and response during these situations. first net devices and applications will ultimately change the way local fire and emergency medical departments operate. the first net network will make it possible to gain access to tools that provide location data and other vital information for fire fire fighting. it will enable real time data exchange to assist commanders with operation al decision playing making. the first net will make profound changes in how emergency service is pract practiced.
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the first net network will facilitate critical decision making in real time and help save lives. under emergency conditions the networks become overwhelmed and we experienced this in oklahoma city 20 years ago. the full deployment of first net will ensure first responders can access vital information under all emergency conditions. i think there was uncertainty from public safety after first net was formed that the concerns are not being heard and it will end up being a mission safety network. the network must be mission
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critical at the outset. under the chairwoman first net has sought greater input from the public safety advisory committee and ingay marriage -- engaged far more than previously. it is a 40-member group that is giving us information on public safety. the committee meets several times a year including once this past year in norman oklahoma near by home town. we believe that public safety ongoing input is vital at all stages of the network's development so it will be tail tailored to meet the end users. the ifc and public safety in general are pleased with jeffrey johnson as vice chair of first net. he is a well recognized in the
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fire and emergency committee. we believe first net has worked to create opportunities for the public safety community and help shape the design of the network in states and territory. this outreach improved over the years and we look forward to that continuing. this is a key element to success and a venue where public safety personal are able to ensure first net is meeting our needs. first net has made strides with states conducting more than a hundred engagements involving 20,000 stakeholders. many members attended and
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reported favorable on the first net engagement. i understand that first net intend do is hold meeting with the remain states by the end of the year. there is still gaps during the in-person meeting on the final network will look like the cost, and the coverage areas but these are the exact type of questions that should be and are being asked and debated. public safety must be included in the conversations and we appreciate the engagement with public safety commitment. there is a lot of work to be done and first net must move quickly on sever activities in 2015. these and other developments from the past year help foster a more inclusive, transparent dialogue between first net and the public safety community. first net is needed to the
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crease the safety of the emergency personal and protect the american people. first net isn't the only thing that bears success. it falls on all public safety officials to ensure success in the creation and administration of the broadband network. i feel confidant first net is on the right path to build a broadband nation that will serve firefighters, emergency medical providers and other responders. i appreciate the opportunity to be before you and offer this testimony. thank you, sir. >> thank you. mr. goldstein? >> i am pleased to be here to talk about first net. we are tasked with a wireless broadband net specifically for emergency safety. the finings are preliminary in
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nature. the 2012 act provided $7 billion from spectrum auction proceed for the network construction and required to be self-funding beyond the allocation. we worked with five building projects that had permission to build networks. first net's progress of responsibilities and establishing controls and how much the network is estimated to cost and how they plan to be self-funding and what lessons can be learned from the early building projects. first, we found first net has made progress with the responsibilities established but lacked internal controls. they made progress establishing structure, planning the nationwide broadband network and consulting with stakeholders but they have up coming issues
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saying the level of coverage will be difficult to address and carry out responsibilities. internal controls they have stb established policies but not assessed the risk. given first net faces multitudes of risk assessing them would help them respond to risks in a proactive way developing standards of contact would hem them address conduct issues in a timely manner. second, it is estimated to cost billions and first net faced the difficult decision determining how to fund the network's construction and ongoing operations. various entities estimated the cost from $12-$47 billion over the first ten years and the actual cost is influenced by the business model, extent of
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commercial preps, use of existing network and network coverage. the cost would likely increase if they don't utilize commercial partnerships. they can use secondary use of the network for non-public safety networks put it is difficult to determine how to best use the sources. wide spread coverage attracts user buzz it is expensive to construct and maintain especially in rural areas. we found that first net has taken steps to collect and evaluate information from the five early builder projects. but it could do more to evaluate and incorporate the investments.
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they have assigned contractors to collect and log lessons. preliminary results so first net doesn't have a plan how it will evaluate the experiences and lessons. they have found a well developed evaluation plan can help ensure the agency obtain the information necessary. given the early builder projects are done at a local and regional level what first net must do nationally this can play a key role in the management and planning, feedback on execution making sure they have not missed opportunities. this concludes ply remarks and i would be happy to answer remarks >> thank you. ms. swinson. >> thank you for inviting me to testify on behalf of the first
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responder network authority. this is also a pleasure to appear with my fellow panel members and i would like to welcome several members of the public safety community who are with us here to hear about their network. i appreciate everybody coming with us today. as you know we experienced growing pains in the early days of our existence. with only board members on the first net until mid-2013 and an executive team not in place until the latter part of the year we were dependent on other supports and worked to shore up weakness and take on as much responsibility as we can. and i am confidant the processess and procedures are in line with expectations. with the executive team in place we build a strategic road map in
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march of 2014 and have been on pace with major milestones since. we started the formal meetings and the first public notice and comment in september of 2014. on monday we released the second public notice and comment. and the board is on track to address the draft rfp later this month. we have had outreach meetings since the beginning cuonnectconnecting first net with stakeholders. we scheduled meetings with an additional 28 states and held a variety of forms beyond this meetings with single points of contact in the state with week leo mails, monthly phone calls quarterly webinars and upcoming on april 14th and 15 we will
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host an inperson meeting where we are going to have 56 states andsial point of contacts attending if they can make it. i am very proud of the organization and what it has accomplished and where they are in terms of readiness. it is a dedicated and committed team working on a project that faces head winds each and every day. what no one sees is the toll thes this takes on the organization and the people working in it. at first net we are taking on this task to deploy a nationwide network and we are constrained by a number of factors that are out of our control. coming from the private sector i have found the federal rules and processes challenging at time. this slows the process to move
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as we and others would like. i know there are some who would like to see more progress at this point. i would, too. but we are a federal entity and subject to regulations. so i hope you understand why we may not be moving as quickly as everyone expects. we looked at cycle times and committing the necessary resources within the department of commerce to make the improvements. we appreciate the support. we are explayeroring the hiring process and procurement. i believe that having people dedicated to whose functions whose first priority is first net will enable to move it along quickly and eefficiently and
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adhere to the rules. we are working to build a culture that is appropriate to serve the community. our first responders are on duty 24/7 and we need to be there to support them. this means working a laser focus commitment to serve and have a sense of urgency. we have accomplished a lot and are building a reputation to do what we see we will do. we have more to complete but i believe we are on the right path with a dedicated team working on the mission. thank you for allowing me to be here. >> thongank you. >> we appreciate the opportunity to testify as we examine first net problems and challenges in
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establishing the broadband network. this act authorizes first net to use public money to build a pub public safety network making internal control and the compliance important. it is critically important for the feminist first responders to have the ability to connect quickly. on april 23 2013 first net meeting a former board member presented a resolution regarding decision making and concerns including including including including ethics and procurement. we looked at board ac-- access
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to information. the previous board chairman asked my office to look into ethics and procurement. first net didn't wait for the report to make changes. they hired a chief council, established a compliance program, and worked with our office develop a training program for board members and staff. the results of the audit disclosed problems. we found public and financial monitoring proceeder were not adequate, some board members didn't file timely disclosure reports and monitoring of potential conflicts of interest needed improvement. we found one now former board member didn't file a public financial disclosure record and
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when he did he didn't disclose a significant interest or position in a conflicting company. another now former board member submitted a financial disclosure five months late. we consider this an important issue for internal control because the mission and membership of the board includes close ties to the telecommunication issues. in procurement we found first net contracting practice lacked sufficient hire competition, and adequate monitoring. we found an 8.4 million contract was not adequate and a former board member inappropriately directed the contractor in advance of the award to hire specific individuals. this created the appearance the
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contractor was required to hire the individuals in order to get the contract. close relationships with contractor personal can show favortism and call into the questions the procurement process. we made nine recommendations and some have been implemented and we continue to work with the department on the following. our recommendations were taken serious and progress has been made but significant challenges remain. the areaed we have identified as watch items which are well known to first net include the following. ensuring funding, determining the assets incorporating lessons learned from the broadband technology opportunity program, continue to address and identify internal control
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weaknesses and executing the consultation process. we are continuing to oversee first net and will keep them informed with respect to these challenges and others identified. the act did not authorize first net to be dedicated to oversight so as a result over the past two years we have been working the department on funding the oversight and the 2016 budget request is an appropriation for work but the committee might want to see if it is appropriate to authorize it from the funds. this concludes my testimony and i am pleased to answer any questions >> thank you for the panel for your great comments. we will look forward to asking a few questions and try to confine to members of the committee. i will start off by asking you
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ms. swinson. rural america is not allowed to be left behind in deploying first net and my question is how do you plan to ensure more states are adequately covered? >> thank you for the question. as you know with discussions with your office and other members we take rural coverage seriously and it is as high of a priority as urban. and this is what makes the difference. commercial doesn't cover rural. we talked about state consultation and it is in those meetings where we review the program with the state. we work in advance with the single point of contact in your state and plan those meetings, go over the plans, and give an opportunity for folks from the state to tell us where their priorities are. we don't know that.
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that is why we go into the consultation meetings get the information, and feed it in the process as part of the response mechanisms for the vendors who respond to this about how they will do the coverage and what cost. it is a critical component of the first net program. and again, i think it is really important to understand this is what sets it apart from a commercial network. >> speaking of the rfp, first net was established in 2012 but the stakeholders have been pushing for a public safety network. that has been going on for about a decade. but the concerns are the vendor community and public safety community could lose conference in this endeavor and that could be a tipping point with regard to success.
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you mentioned you will try to rfp by the end of the month >> the draft rfp. if i could i would like to talk about the fact we said we are on track with everything we said we would do. issued public notice and comment on monday and by the end of the month the board is going to consider the draft rfp forissue issue. vendors wants tonight what we intend and it provides the vendors to give us feedback about how the draft rfp is issued so when we issue the final one toward the latter part of the calendar here there is no unintended consequences because he didn't take it into consideration. we are on track to issue that and with all of the mile stones we communicated over a year ago. and you think end of the
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calendar year final rfp. >> that is what i believe today. >> are there factors that could delay that >> i am not aware of that. but depending on the comments from the vendors we get back on the draft it might extend it a little but i think it will be worth the time so when we issue the rfp it is done right and as you indicated the rfp is the pivotal part of this program. it is about deploying the network and monetizing the spectrum. it is a very complicated process. so this has to be done right and i think it is pivotal for the program. >> thank you. mr. goldstein, i understand first net hasn't determined how the early builder projects in the jurisdictions moving ahead will be incorperated into the
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first net and various factors will contribute. i would like to see if you could recommend what steps first net should take to address those. >> thank you. regarding the projects and they have been collecting information including governance conducting out pp outreach and planning for deployment. they haven't integrated information into a data plan that will allow them to use that information down the road as these projects and milestones
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and use that information to make changes themselves in first net's own development as time goes forward. so we think they can do a better job in that area and maybe it is trying to do everything at once has been difficult. i think we recognize that. but that is one area they are going to achieve success and it is critical. ...
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>> want to the secretary and one to the general counsel of the department, to to the chairman and the five to the senior procurement officials in the department and they are all being implemented. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. let's remember the reason to have all the first responders to be able to talk to each other without without the hindrances to the past when there is a matter of national security or a
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national emergency or local emergency in front of us. i would like to thank you all for what you are doing and we knew that this mission was not going to be easy. we have certainly seen disasters in the past that one set of radios cannot talk to the others. but the states of interaction are way too high and they are creating right from scratch the interoperable nationwide network devoted to public safety. and so you are a unique hybrid and we have asked the board to think like entrepreneurs with a limited budget and to launch a startup enterprise within the confines of the federal
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government and that is pretty huge. and so the fact that the board wasn't even set up until august august 2012. ..
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we require that you consider cyber security. what steps are you taking in the planning for the nations that work to prevent against the attacks and and mr. andrews, i we will ask you, is the department reviewing the work on cyber security protections? and what are you going to do about it in the future? >> thank you, and as you know, we have discussed that in previous conversations cyber is a challenging area for the nation and large companies, but i am happy to tell you we are collaborating closely with the department of homeland security, adding resources to the organization so that it is built into our planning, our technical planning and, of course, be a major part of our proposal. proposal. it is a high priority, and i think we are leveraging
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resources properly within the government. i am always open to suggestions. >> are you going to having enough money? >> it is probably too early to answer that specifically because we are just now looking at the planning process. we believe that business models are sufficient to build up this network and have incorporated those assumptions and to our financial model. at this time i do not see difficulty with that but like everything we do with firstnet everything is new. there were things we got at the beginning two years ago that we have changed as a result of what we have learned and i imagine i imagine we will continue that as we go along. again, it is a very high priority and we will keep you posted. >> mr. andrews, i think it is essential to harden against cyber security because other than your every day natural disaster
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but when it is not a natural disaster whatever is attacking us is going to be attacking us with cyber simultaneously. what are you going to do? >> sen., cyber security is a a high priority for the department. we recognize it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as part of the firstnet buildout. not only are we working to make sure they have the support they need but our cio is involved our team is involved and we are working hand-in-hand with firstnet to make sure they have the resources not just from the department but from across the government, the best expertise available including a number of experts who have been involved. >> i have met and you are going to need to work with them. you're going to your going
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to need to work with some of our intelligence agencies because the technology is so rapidly changing in these areas of the kind of sophisticated attacks that can occur and if we are talking about a terrorist attack you all are going to have to be able to communicate on your network. of course, that is going to be one of the 1st things that the bad guys are going to try to deny our ability to communicate in command. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> i want to i want to thank the chairman and ranking member and all of you. i appreciate obviously why we need this. we have all had differences in our state. a number of years ago we had an incident that prompted a
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discussion. we had a horrible madmen have basically murder the judge, troopers there were trying to subdue him murdered a local newspaper person and the radios did not talk to each other. that works to the advantage of the perpetrator and allowing to use that situation to cause more deaths. this is a real issue. as i think about our state i no that the consultation in new hampshire will be june 9, i have been told. you have said, ms. susan swenson that you are going to get the feedback from the state and particularly as i think about the chairman's question two thirds of my state would technically be really rural areas where we have challenges on how we build a network that people can talk to each other. and in that process where
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you take new hampshire's feedback and every other states feedback and then you put together the rfp for the end of the year, will year will the states have a feedback loop? you sit down june 9 they tell you what they think you put together an rfp. is there another effort to see what you are working on to make sure their views are reflected? >> thank you for the question because i want to emphasize that consultation is a broad and ongoing process, not a one-time event. we talk a lot about state consultation, and it is important people understand. our relationship with the states is ongoing. we have conference calls, are, are available by staff, e-mails face-to-face meetings. also i would tell you that as we go through the process of consultation rfp and delivering a plan teach governor for the plan for
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their state, that will not be a surprise. we want this to be an iterative collaborative process so that when you get that plan you have been so involved in it there are no surprises. that is the mindset we have around the process. it is important that we work together, and we have been somewhat limited on staff but are adding people to make sure we have the right number to be available to you and your team. >> and one of the things we are hearing some feedback from people on the ground in new hampshire is they are saying what is the benefit? in other words the local agencies that have been working on this issue for years so this is a new issue for law enforcement and 1st responders and they are saying, why should we opt in to firstnet versus perhaps using a private
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distributor. part of this plan is how we use maximized commercial opportunity given the resources that we have. what would you say to that issue? this worry that we don't know what to expect from the 1st responder community you can understand why that would be a pretty real one. >> would you like me to answer. >> yes, i'm curious what you would say. what do you think about this? >> i don't think your feedback is different than what we hear which is why we are trying to be with as many of the constituencies as we probably can. i asked if they know a lot firstnet. a lot of people hundreds of thousands of people. i am not surprised about what you are hearing.
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i we will i we will tell you from a benefit standpoint that we talk to communicate one of the things is the real coverage which is a critical differentiator. this is a dedicated network. what happens when you have an incident? what is the 1st thing you do? you get on your cell phone. >> i would argue without real coverage you probably could do this quite easily commercially. it is the rural areas that need help the most. >> commercial is focused on commercial. that is their focus. they have shareholders and earnings releases and things they have to worry about. we do not. the money we get we will reinvest in the network. it is dedicated and has priority. the funding several billion dollars from the last. spectrum that is valuable.
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it is really good spectrum. and so getting revenue from that will enable us to operate this network. what network. what is important for 1st responders and anyone interested in this is we are talking about a capitalized business model. if you look at the system today they are old 10 15 years old. very old. very difficult for agencies to get funding to upgrade. the model we have is talking about upgrading that as the technology presents itself. for example, if we start to deploy this network and then move from four to 5g we
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will deploy 5g. we will give 1st responders the technology we enjoy as consumers. we also will work on the standards around this, but this, but recognizing the network for a particular circumstance in your state and all of the member states , we want to understand what they are and are working to defined a standard so that we can try to harden the network to withstand those incident that you know from our perspective whether perspective that would affect the network. we also are going to have applications. the development community will get excited about the applications that can be made for public safety. this is an organization dedicated to public safety, not secondary. the priority is about finding customers getting revenue. first nat. first that is very different and is important for people to note that if you decide to let us deploy your network public safety
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agencies are not obligated to sign up. there is no mandate. think of what that says to us? we have to create a compelling position. that is why we're spending so much time with public safety. understand their needs. we are conscious of that issue and are working hard to get information out, working with out, working with the associations to get information out to people on the street because it is difficult. we were at the meeting in san diego last saturday. law enforcement was not that familiar with firstnet. i presented. we are working hard to get the message out. >> thank you.
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we want to make sure our 1st responders are informed. >> thank you. >> thank you. i just want to say thank you for the work that you are doing. tasked with doing something that is unprecedented not just in government but american history that is extraordinarily and absolutely urgently needed. all of us this serve in the united states senate know the urgency of this. i spent years as a mayor with a mayor with crisis and crisis in crisis and saw that communications whether going into a burning building with no visibility how important are radio is. for us hurricane sandy we saw in the most painful ways how critical communication
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was. there was a situation an earthquake in new jersey. after surviving the earthquake in california all my communications communications, police department, fire department, it all went down. fortunately we had a plan but that made me realize the challenges. this challenges. this is what you are doing a life or death initiative, making strides that should be celebrated. my state is ecstatic about the contributions you are making and i kind of like to submit for the record an article about atlantic city about the public safety work you are doing there and how we believe the mobile platforms you are creating can be rolled out and is something for the country
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that could be a benefit a benefit and model for the nation whether rural or urban areas or suburban areas. i celebrate you in the sense that you are working with bureaucracies not used to dealing with unique public-private partnerships. i respect the professionals sitting with you have done the arduous work of oversight but i want to afford you a couple of opportunities to respond to some of the challenges you put forward. the 1st is your constructive criticism of having to deal with the challenges that are undermining your progress. it is important that this committee would like to remove barriers. this is one of the more righteous things. what a. what a major crisis happened in this country.
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if you get this done you will make a difference where thousands of lives could be saved. could you talk for a moment about those options? >> i think we are working with deputy secretary bruce andrews and his staff on improving the process within the department. there is just a lot of people touching a lot of things, and we need to streamline that. i think it is important that we take -- we have the ability to control our destiny and the ability to have people who are dedicated. this is no pejorative comment. the secondary item for them. a full-time day job.
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we probably don't get the urgency we feel about things we will obviously follow the rules and regulations but we have an opportunity to move more quickly. i would like to see what we can do about improving that and taking responsibility from commerce. we went through that process with finance organizations initially providing support. i think we have demonstrated that we can bring in the right resources with the right talent and training put processes and controls in place. >> let me interrupt you. i would love to hear some of the things we could be doing, but i want to end by one comment, one question.
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the people that have the 1st responders backs should be elevated and i want to give you a chance to respond to the cost of the issue. do you think that is sufficient? >> what is important to understand is the information is built on a lot of assumptions. even mr. goldstein indicated that. a set of assumptions that he did not even have visibility to. we believe we understand what we need to accomplish in terms of spectrum value. that is why the rfp is such a a critical component because it is the funding mechanism. it is not sufficient to
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continue to operate and upgrade this network overtime. i believe the financial model is solid but we won't know the answer until we finish the process. it's critical to be able to put together a plan for each of the governors where we can talk but the coverage and what it will cost the 1st responders to subscribe to that. we won't know the facts until completed. >> thank you. >> i want to thank all of you. i came into the office we were not able to communicate with any natural disasters.
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could not get the equipment to the right place and time. it is critically important. we are one of the most rural states. i want to thank you. but when we will phase ii of the grants be available? talking and planning. >> when we will you let them go? >> torn your microphone, sir >> there are actually two rounds of money. the 1st around one has
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gone out. somewhat dependent somewhat dependent upon figuring out the data needs. the consultation and planning and to allow the states to do the work to fund the work to work with firstnet as part of that 1st round. ..
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if you are going to fast-track some of this. >> we expect within the next couple of months to have a second phase of money go up. >> of you want to use this as a trial and error west virginia would be happy to work with you. mr. goldstein the past three years we have successfully hired less than 100 people i am told. an investigation on found various issues with hiring processes, appears to be more lawyers and lawyers -- layers of bureaucracy and more red tape that annual report which was due february 23 still has not been released because it has to be reviewed. i'm told by 10 different federal agencies before could be even shared with the first responders who it is designed to serve. is all of this new two u.? >> yes sir i'm not aware of that.
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>> you are wary that the 23rd february 23 has come and gone and the annual report has not been given? >> i'm not sure the question you are asking. to whom is it referred? i them with the gao. >> oh. you are are all over saying it, right? you are the accountability office. >> we have done our first audit which is what i'm here talking about today sir. >> what i'm concerned about what it alarm you all that they might not be able to meet the person that needs as far as personnel? that's all they have been able to hire. >> we understand -- >> and someone else enter this? >> i can certainly respond to that. first of all the annual report actually has been issued. there was a bit of the time delay but you should have access to that at this point and it
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does require significant review you're absolutely correct on on that and maybe there's an opportunity. >> but i mean this is what upsets people. >> you are talking to someone from the private sector. no simply doesn't make sense but i'm not an expert on government process so i'm not sure. sioux this is a national emergency and that something god forbid should happen that we help each other? i katrina type thing it was such a cluster. i mean with first met up and running? >> actually that's the beauty of first met. >> i know that but to cut through 10 different federal agencies tell us where your impediments are. >> the impediments today our personal hiring because it takes us anywhere from nine months to a year to get people on the payroll through the processes through hiring their security clearances of all those kinds of things that can take a significant amount of time to get on the payroll and that's where we are working with the department of commerce and procurement. again i would like to say it's
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important that we have as much control over our destiny is possible to have people who are dedicated to this and feel a sense of urgency for whom it's not a second job and all the people who work at first net today feel the sense of urgency and want to get things done but it's difficult. >> if i could could work with the ranking member we could look at cutting some of this government regulation to get this up and running much quicker because we are hitting this in every aspect of government. maybe the commerce committee can cut through the sum of this stuff. >> i would be more than happy to work with west virginia because that is crazy. this stuff is beyond the pale sometimes when it comes to getting launched so let's do that. thank you senator manchin. senator peters. see that thank you mr. chairman thanks to our panelists for your testimony and your hard work on this issue and your insight into it. i want to say certainly i'm concerned about all the issues i have heard from my colleagues in michigan that i'm privileged to
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represent has a great deal of rural areas as well so i appreciate your reference to making sure we have this network up and running. not only in urban areas but another area that's important to us as the border areas. we are a state that is on some of the most perverse border crossings in the country piggybacked we just recently have been moving forward on building an international bridge between detroit and windsor which will greatly increase trade between our countries and continue to make michigan a hub for the whole country and we abort across as an port huron and sault ste. marie and as a result of their frequent contacts with canadian officials. as we are dealing with border issues and when it comes to first responders we often have to coordinate with those international entities are in this case the canadian entities and they have different spectrum issues than we have in the united states so chairwoman swanson if you could comment a
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little bit about how first night is going to ensure that some of our merchants and communications along the borders are going to be facilitated and give me a sense of what sort of discussions you have had with canadian officials in terms of making sure there isn't interference on our side of the border versus their side of the border. >> from a technical perspective one of our projects is not focus on canada but also the southern border because we know border issues are challenging so we are actually learning quite a bit from our projects and one of those is border issues. again we are focused on mexico and not canada but we have a very good relationship with canada. they have the same standards that the u.s. does so we don't anticipate a lot of difficulty frankly with canada. we are anticipating challenges with mexico which our project is
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focused on that as one of the key learning conditions. so we have actually from a key learning condition things we have learned from our projects we have actually had 61 things that we have learned and i would like to mention another one in particular that has been extremely valuable that is then fed into the technical team and rfp process and that's our project in los angeles. los angeles is working to try to get some sites up and we have learned the use of existing government infrastructure is quite a bit more challenging than we had originally anticipated. developing memoranda of understanding, leasing excess capacity is very challenging so it has been extremely helpful through that project. i would have you feel more comforting after the rome and northern border instead of the southern border. i think we will be able to traverse those challenges quite easily. >> the other issue that we face is we have a large coast guard
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presence as well along the shoreline so just if you could let me know what firstnet is doing to work with some of the military in the coast guard. depending on what the emergency is sometimes the coast guard or the first to respond and to respond in a work with the fire and police and ms personnel as well. >> i think it's an excellent question and just as we have our install the states we have been talking about we have a dedicated personnel staff to focus on our federal partners and there's actually the person said the federal government who is our single point of contact much like a state has. we are working with a group called the easy ec pc and there's a lot of acronyms in the federal government. emergency communication something something. i'm sorry i don't remember the acronym but it has to do with bringing all the agencies together around emergency communications in previously two of our board members undersecretary from department of homeland security were co-chairs of that committee.
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we are very engaged in recently met for the federal partners to make sure we can coordinate and make sure they are part of this process. so we are very engage with them. >> wonderful. and the comments ms. bryant mama, you made thinking about a horror story if we ever crisis at the university of michigan football game which we have an awful lot of folks at the stadium. communications could be very difficult. how do you see firstnet handling that situation and the chairwoman as well how come we share that we are not -- we are going to be able to handle these incredible spikes invite this network is so important and credible -- handling incredible spikes. >> they are somewhat chaotic chaotic and those we experienced the most difficulty with voice communication. as we have to reach outside of our own jurisdictions to gather critical information to help us manage that incident the data
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side of this is what is really needed and what's important. when we reach out to federal agencies that can provide this with information on other types of information that we would need with law enforcement reaching out for intelligence type information and having the availability through firstnet for the data is critical. again depending on the localities communication system, some are very robust systems out there. some are not so much at this point. so i look at this as somewhat of a safety net in those times that of your voice does start to feel you and you get overwhelmed you have that backup with firstnet on the data side to be able to exchange critical data. >> just a couple of comments. first of all going back to my comments about a dedicated network first of all that's a lot of capacity with
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20 megahertz. as you indicated we sometimes have spikes. we will do the rfp process get someone to actually want to use that excess capacity and it will be using the network and getting revenue for that. the beauty of long-term lte technology it has something called priority and preemption say that their people using the network those folks will come off the network and public safety brady. this is the first time this has been done. having been in telecommunications for longtime people talk about preemption but it's been done manually. we are doing testing in our labs in boulder right now to validate its more than just vaporware. we have vendor technology in our labs and we are testing it so the good news is that it works. i think it's important to mention because this is a big change for public safety. public safety is used to work and vertical organizations fire
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law enforcement ems. this is creating a very horizontal ability to communicate. as a result of that we have an advisory group called the public safety advisory council and they are looking at how this new organization is going to help local operations because i think it's going to change the way public safety operates. i think it's good but i think it's going to be different and we are going to enjoy as we see this technology rollout things that we aren't thinking about today much like you say in technology for consumers. i think it's very exciting but it's going to be a big change for public safety. those are the important things about the network that will make a very big difference. >> thank you. senator fischer. >> thank you mr. chairman. ms. swenson can you give us some idea when this is all going to be fully operational? do you have a window of time there? >> its eyes a great question. as i said we have the strategic roadmap that lays out the
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timeframe of getting tourist a consultation issuing the rfp getting the response and obviously awarding to the winner of the process. while we don't know today is what might happen in that process. so if we were unencumbered by external factors than we could probably give you a more definitive timeframe but my expectation based on what everybody has told told me the government as we might see a few bumps along the way. the goal is to obviously get that rfp out get the response is then put that information together and deliver plans to each of the governors of every state. what happens during that timeframe we are hoping is smooth and i hope you get a sense of the sense of urgency we feel about this and how hard we are working to get it done as quickly as possible. >> you think you will reach that 2020 two-goal? >> oh yeah. if we don't we should be shot.
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[laughter] >> mr. chairman i don't even know how to respond to that. >> we will find a lesser answer. >> appreciate your honesty on that. when we are looking at the gao's estimate that you are going to need 12 to 47 billion over the next 10 years, how do you think first of all do you agree with those numbers? >> as i said previously i think the gao report has looked at some assumptions and some estimates where they have no visibility to the assumptions that are made. i will tell you early in the process to early folks who are with firstnet along with the board looked at a financial model around some assumptions. we are pretty comfortable based on our experience with the cost structure to do this sort of thing. think the revenue side is harder
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but we have made reasonable assumptions. we have incorporated that into the lot to say is this even feasible? can we even do this and i thought that was a very important process to go through because why expend federal funds to go down this path only to find out that if they ended it. >> can we do at? >> as we can assuming the assumptions we have our realize which is why the rfp process is so important and that's why i think the public notice i would like to highlight the public notice we issued on monday is critical to the rfp process because it starts to answer some of the questions that i think were maybe unclear in the legislation that we were trying to clarify before we go out with rfp. we believe that it can happen and it will only be validated through the rfp process. >> if by chance that's not going to be enough money what do you see happening? i the states going to have to pick it up?
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are we looking at turning firstnet into a self-sustaining entity? where do we go from there? >> i think it's an excellent question. we have talked a lot about that inside of firstnet and if we don't realize what we believe the value of the spectrum as i mean we could literally fold up our tents and go home which is not a good outcome which is why this is such an important process which is why we are alpha state consultation reaching out to people. think about this we have to provide a compelling value proposition for first responders. we are in a different situation than the other projects. we have to actually deliver to our first responders something that they think is worthwhile. so i think it changes the dynamic in the way we approach this in terms of how we approach the project. so we are working hard to make sure that happens but if we don't realize the value of that spectrum is going to be very challenging to be self-sustaining.
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>> do you think firstnet would put in a claim for more of the money that comes from the sales spectrum? >> we are not looking for more money actually. >> that is nice to hear. >> that's rare but we take that very seriously. i think that's why you see such a dedicated team at firstnet and senator booker talked about the importance of having people have done this before so you have a sense of confidence that can be accomplished. why it's so important at the rfp be very well done. we believe that there is interest in our spectrum so we have a fundamental believe and we validated that through conversations we had with folks. it's like gold. it's really valuable. even with priority and prevention it's very good spectrum and i think we have people out there who are more than interested in being part of that.
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we are confident that will prove to be the assumption that is correct. >> thank you very much. thank you mr. chair. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you mr. chairman could i found the remark earlier ms. swenson that you made somewhat staggering. it takes nine or 10 months to hire someone, did i hear correctly? >> unfortunately yes he did. >> so you have the funding meet in the spectrum it's necessary to set up and commonly identified that you are in fact including procedures that are
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ossified and completely inadequate to the task that you face. what can be changed and those procurement policies that have handicapped the government and urgent task. >> as i said senator we are working with the department of commerce and the secretary's staff to see what we can do. in addition to the federal process we have some things internal to firstnet and commerce we are looking at the cycle time of that. why is it taking two months to hire a firm to hire people? it shouldn't take that long so we are looking to see what we can do to compress that which would significantly enhance our ability to get the job done. i'm telling you we are working
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very hard and i would love to report back to you on the progress we are making on that. >> in each of the steps you have identified it has to be a partner correct? >> you know i am not as familiar. i think deputy secretary anders might be able to answer that. >> if i could give a little more context which is one of the things we have done is moved firstnet to the commerce personnel system which is a more streamlined and flexible process than the normal rfp process. their undoubted challenges because of the safeguards -- safeguards built on the lot in terms of hiring within the federal government. the needs of firstnet are incredibly special. >> what about ms. swenson and mr. secretary giving firstnet direct hire authority? >> we have made that request.
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it has not been granted. >> when did you make that request quite? >> i would have to pay -- look at the exact date. eight or nine months ago and part of the reason we have guns to the alternative cap system -- >> would the said to? >> up until now it's not granted in what they think the hiring is. >> have they responded negatively? >> negatively. >> i would clarify that a little bit. they responded negatively to our first request and they have not responded to our second request. >> when was your second request? >> august of 2014. >> august 2014 so that a little while ago. let me just suggest that for the first year and a half i believe i'm correct in saying your board functions as the staff and now
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you have 110 employees which seems inadequate. the success of this very important national priorities depends on having the best and brightest so there is simply no way you can compete for the limited pool of highly-skilled talented people who are being hired by google apple, you know there is a huge demand for these people. you are telling them sorry, we can't let you go for another 10 months and they are going to say thanks but no thanks, right? >> in fact they have. >> i'm sure they have in large numbers. so if i may respectfully suggest the federal government is failing you and lest we expose
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you to capital punishment i think we have an obligation to compel the relevant agencies especially opm and anybody else to do better and to do more and do it more quickly so that you can succeed in this task. >> senator we really appreciate that. thank you for your comments. >> thank you senator blumenthal. senator cantwell and then senator wicker. >> thank you. one of the issues that this strikes me in this discussion is how fast you can go and whether there is more the private sector can do but i think the key phrase here is interoperability. my understanding is that some of those pilots were turned down because they weren't ensuring interoperability. i mean the private sector can get it done in a minute that i guarantee you'll be a closed
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loop system based on a technology that they build and build and build off of their technology so you want to give somebody the grand prize i guess you can do that but the issue is making sure we have interoperability. is that correct in that is why some of the pilots were delayed because they weren't conquering that? >> let me respond to that and i can respond pretty specifically. as a board member in the beginning days of first firstnet negotiated releases. the projects were in existence prior to firstnet becoming a reality. they were put on hold because they were focused on broadband and to make sure they were consistent with what we were trying to do with firstnet. the good news is we were able to move some of those forward. some of the difficulties we have experienced one of the requirements was that the plan that the organization presented had to be self sustainable. in other words they needed to show financial viability. some of those cases it didn't turn out to be that.
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i will tell you personally senator i've personally worked very hard to get those projects completed because we know how important they are. as i said we have learned a lot from these projects that we have incorporated into the technical work that the technical team is doing. the government assets and how we might utilize those i think the ntia has been involved in that activity as well. they have a different role than firstnet does. i will tell you we worked hard to get those projects on board because we are learning a lot from them. >> okay so i want to ask you about when we will see functionality because it is important. while i understand the issue of interoperability and making sure that is implemented throughout the network i think these state grants are very important. we had this horrible incident almost to its one-year anniversary which was the zero so mudslides which literally cut
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to communities in half and they were without medication required 30 different agencies to respond. i think everybody now knows exactly what we want and what it's going to take in this particular area because of the typography. you have some communication challenges just a nap. literally at one point we were trying to greenlight basically putting the broadband but -- backup for a mile connected to the trees. that's what we had to do. we couldn't have residents we had over 40 people lost their lives in this incident. everybody wants to respond that we didn't have broadband communication until we greenlighted putting it back up and hang it on choodry limbs so first responders and everybody could respond. i hope that we will see the urgency that we have to get some of these pilots done and that we take these state plans and make
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them so up the actual needs so that then you can lay your work on top of it in a faster fashion and we get some of these demonstrations and pilots up and running right away. so when would we have that functionality? >> let me see i'm trying to listen to all the comments that you have been there. i think it's important to understand that the pilots are important for us relative to building out our nationwide network and that is our first priority. i know that there are many people who would like us to do many more pilots and i will tell you it would be a bit of a dilution of our efforts as we indicated where we are resource constrained at this point so what we want to do is focus our effort and energy on the public notice we just issued which by the way really did a lot to support the rural states issues if you have seen that. it's a really important issue for the coverage there.
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>> when would we see functionality of one of those? >> the functionality of one of the pilots? actually there's a pilot in colorado in the boulder area that is up and functioning. we have another project that is not a broadband project but it's in harris county texas and they have an operational system. in fact i've visited harris county in january of 2013. they are actually experiencing in using these with first responders to test the interoperability. some of these projects are up and running. in new jersey we have a deployable project. they are in the process of actually getting a deployable so they can test the ability to operationalize those deployable's. >> i'm sure our state is very aggressive and i know my time is running out here. we will have to get some details about what her state is doing and when we will see a pilot within the state of washington. >> we will be happy to spend
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time. >> thank you senator cantwell. senator wicker. >> thank you mr. secretary. the broadband technology opportunities program or btop came about as a result of the stimulus act of 2012 when the tax relief act came along and now we have firstnet. mississippi was one of the grantees under the top and moved forward very aggressively with greater speed than any other recipient. and the department and our delegation have had numerous discussions about her disappointment with how this has turned out. i understand firstnet could not reach a spectrum lease agreement with the state of mississippi. this was unfortunate because tens of millions of state and federal tax dollars have been spent significant fiscal assets deployed and the system weeks
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away from going live mississippi would have provided an early demonstration of the great potential broadband holds for first responders. i assume you're aware that the entire delegation met with the assistant secretary strictly in 2013 to press upon him how important restarting the original vtop project was put at that time i tried to help firstnet in the state of mississippi retune agreement. assistant secretary tried to work with us to find a way forward and of course this has not come to version. as saving taxpayers money by quote avoiding investments that might have to be replaced if they are in compatible with the ultimate nationwide architecture under the public safety broadband network unquote however one of the fundamental
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questions imposed on all 700 megabirds -- megahertz to the plate network that is fully interoperable. so that argument does not seem to hold water. furthermore mississippi's contract with its vendors requires complete compliance with quote all the rules, specifications and functionalities unquote. that may change per the fcc were ntia during the buildout of a nationwide network. understandably we in mississippi are disappointed and upset. given these assurances by the state of mississippi and the vendors how exactly is the ntia saving taxpayer money especially when in fact the agency is telling mississippi to spend money to dismantle the

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