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Blog Category: First Responder Network Authority

Building Partnerships and a Dedicated Team, Driven by our Mission

Building Partnerships and a Dedicated Team, Driven by our Mission

Guest blog post by TJ Kennedy, FirstNet Acting Executive Director

Partnerships. Plans. People. These are the essential components for success in both public and private sector organizations. At the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), we realize this, and continue to focus on these key areas as part of our mission to ensure the deployment of a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).  

The Partnerships. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 established FirstNet and directed it to consult with various individuals, jurisdictions, and entities – including federal, state, tribal and local public safety entities – to ensure the building of the NPSBN. Congress wisely recognized that this monumental undertaking requires the input of and coordination with our future stakeholders and users of the network –our nation’s firefighters, EMS providers, law enforcement officers, and other public safety personnel.  

FirstNet has implemented a number of mechanisms to ensure that we are working with the public safety community and getting its feedback on the network. One such effort includes the leveraging of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) to engage in a dialogue with its membership on important network planning and deployment issues.  FirstNet will focus this year on working with the PSAC in four key areas – early builder lessons learned, tribal engagement strategies, priority and pre-emption, and public safety-grade service.

The state consultation process is another major achievement with regard to partnering with the public safety community. Last year, our consultation staff worked closely with public safety officials in eight states and Puerto Rico, gathering crucial information we intend to use in the deployment of our services to public safety. The consultation process is being coordinated through the state-designated single points of contact to ensure that FirstNet obtains key information from regional, state, tribal and local jurisdictions in all 56 states and territories and understands their unique requirements for the network.

FirstNet: Deploying a Resilient Broadband Network for the Nation’s First Responders

FirstNet:  Deploying a Resilient Broadband Network for the Nation’s First Responders

Guest blog post by TJ Kennedy, FirstNet Acting General Manager

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), an independent entity within the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, was established by Congress to develop a nationwide broadband network for the millions of first responders whose mission requires them to be resilient every time they are called to duty.  Whether they are responding to day-to-day emergencies – such as traffic accidents – or large-scale disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, the nation’s firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical services are critical to ensuring our safety and security during all types of hazards.

A great deal of progress has been made to enhance emergency communications in light of the interoperability and operability challenges that hampered the rescue and response operations to the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina.  But we owe it to our nation’s first responders to ensure they have reliable and interoperable communications all of the time.

To deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network, FirstNet is working closely with first responders in all 56 states and territories to ensure their communications needs are built into the nationwide network from day one, so they can seamlessly share information and communicate under all conditions.  And like first responders themselves, the network must be resilient:  it must be able to withstand the elements and recover rapidly from disruptions, including deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring weather situations.

Acting Secretary Blank Names Members of First National Public Safety Broadband Board in Minnesota

Image of logo, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank was in Minneapolis, MN, today to address attendees at the Opening General Session of the 78th Annual Conference and Expo hosted by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International.

In addition to thanking America’s first responders and public safety officials for keeping our country safe and secure, Acting Secretary Blank announced that she appointed twelve of the nation’s leading experts on public safety and wireless broadband communications to serve on the Board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).