Pennsylvania officials want input into the manner in which the FirstNet public-safety broadband network is deployed and operated within the state borders, Major Diane Stackhouse of the Pennsylvania State Police said during a recent webinar.

“I’d like to take a look at it as a FirstNet and PA partnership for an opt-in strategy—it’s a win-win for everyone,” Stackhouse said during the IWCE’s Urgent Communications webinar, which was sponsored by InfoVista and can be accessed on demand by clicking here. “But Pennsylvania definitely has certain requirements and needs.”

One of these is the ability to have some level of control regarding priority and preemption on the FirstNet system within the state’s jurisdiction—something the state police is prepared to do, because it already has a network operations centers (NOC) that operates around the clock to oversee a statewide LMR network, Stackhouse said.

“Within our borders, we want to have some control and access to priority and preemption issues,” she said.

From the outset of its organization, FirstNet officials have expressed the intent to give public-safety agencies “local control” of their use of the proposed broadband system, but details about how such an arrangement would work have not been established yet.

Stackhouse said that Pennsylvania officials understand FirstNet’s need to monetize its spectrum assets to make the business model economically viable, but she stressed that the primary public-safety purpose always should be prioritized.

“We understand that it’s the intention to sell excess capacity, but don’t ever forget that first responders are first,” Stackhouse said. “Pennsylvania decides the needs for coverage and capacity.”