Secretary Ross's Announcement Regarding Dedicated Public Safety Public Safety Broadband Network

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Secretary Ross's Announcement Regarding Dedicated Public Safety Public Safety Broadband Network

Thursday, March 30, 2017
On March 30, 2017, the Department of Commerce and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the selection of AT&T to build the first nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to America’s first responders. Speakers at the announcement event included Secretary Wilbur Ross, Congressman Greg Walden, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, FirstNet board members and public safety officers and first responders.
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SECRETARY ROSS: Good morning and thank you all for being here today. This is a historical event for public safety. I would especially like to thank Secretary Wilbur Ross for hosting this morning's event and to all the dignitaries including Chairman Greg Walden, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, fellow FirstNet board members, but especially all the public safety men and women in the audience. I have just a few moments to reflect on from my perspective what a monumental day today is. And what we're really here to do is to launch the construction of the world's first mission-critical public safety broadband network. This innovative public-private approach to construction of this network is virtually unprecedented in public safety. I'm very proud of the vision that was foreseen by the mothers and fathers of this legislation. They had insights and instincts that really led to the eventual success of FirstNet and to them we owe a great gratitude--great debt of gratitude. A part of that magic is this public-private board, this mixture of public safety board members with industry professionals. And I have to say I've met some of the finest people of my entire career sitting on this FirstNet board, and of course preeminent among them is Susan Swenson, our chairwoman at FirstNet. Sue was unable to be here with us today but I hope someday you have the opportunity to meet her. She is a world-class individual, a world-class leader, and we owe a great deal of our success to Sue. I'd also like to thank my congressman, Greg Walden from Oregon. Congressman Walden and his staff, David Redl and Ray Baum. These individuals had such insight and such guidance, and as I look at the things that made us successful today, I know a large part of that had to do with their insight and their guidance. And I'm very proud to call Congressman Walden my congressman from the state of Oregon. I also want to reflect on the steps ahead. This is not done. It does take vision, and then we need execution, and finally we need adoption. And it is it is that adoption target where we will focus our next energies. And we're looking for each of our partners in public safety and in Congress and in the administration to help us move forward on that. It is unfortunate for those of you that contributed to this network, like many of us that have worked the streets for a career, it's unfortunate that many of you that contributed to this will never get to see the lives you save. What I can give you as an absolute certainty is that this network will save many lives and there will be many people that will owe you a debt of gratitude and will have no way to thank you, so in advance I'm thanking you. And lastly on behalf of public safety, thank each of you for your contribution. There there's probably not a person in this room that didn't contribute to the success of this network. We will never be able to individually thank you all and I hope my words today will offer some measure of appreciation from the public safety community to those of you who we rely on helping us execute our professions. With that I would like to welcome to the podium the Secretary of Commerce Mr. Wilbur Ross. Good morning everyone. Before we get started I'd like to make an announcement. This morning we've made affirmative final determinations that steel producers in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are dumping carbon and alloy cut-to-length steel plate into the United States. Margins in the dumping investigations range from 3.6 percent up to 148.2. Commerce also found that Korea is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of steel plate at a countervailing duty of 4.31. As a result of these final affirmative determinations, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits based on these final rates. In 2015 imports of cut-length steel plate from these countries totaled nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in value, so I'm glad we can bring relief to this industry as it struggles with the problem of global overcapacity and dumping. A healthy steel industry is critical to our economy. But now back to the important and exciting task at hand: FirstNet. Chairman Walden, by the way, is also the kind of godfather of the whole FirstNet project and you'll be hearing from him shortly, so we're very grateful to the initiative he and Senator Jay Rockefeller took creating FirstNet in the wake of the 9/11. Chairman Walden members of Congress, Chairman Pai, FirstNet board members, members of the first responder community, Mr. Stephenson, and honored guests. Thank you all for being here for the important announcement of this record-breaking 46.5 billion dollar public-private partnership. First off I'd like to take a moment to recognize all the public service personnel here in attendance. Our country would be far less safe without your vigilance and dedication, so let's give them a hand. When terrorism struck our shores on September 11, 2001, our nation was stuck in shock as flaws in our national security were exposed. In the wake of this tragedy our nation resolved to never again let such lapses occur. With the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission we began the task of building a more secure society, taking concrete steps to shield American citizens. However one vital element outlined by the 9/11 Commission remains unfinished: to establish and operate a dedicated public safety broadband network that equips first responders with the latest technology to save lives and to protect our communities. The administration is now prepared to deliver on the 9/11 Commission's recommendation. As you can probably guess by whom I'm joined on the stage, it's my honor to announce this morning the public-private partnership between FirstNet and AT&T to build this network. The network will provide services in both urban and rural areas to over 60,000 public service agencies across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and tribal lands. The partnership will invest 46 and a half billion dollars into our economy. It will create 10,000 jobs in the first two years, and tens of thousands over the term of the 25-year contract. It will spur private sector innovation in telecom and public safety. And most importantly, it will change an untenable status quo by providing first responders with the tools they need to keep us safe. Today is a landmark day for a public safety across the country and is a prime example of the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships. I thank you to our colleagues in the Office of Management and Budget and the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice for your commitments to the project. I would especially like again to thank Chairman Walden who, along with Jay Rockefeller, helped first get this project off the ground. Thank you also to the members of the FirstNet board for their hard work in going through one of the most complex bidding processes you can imagine. Those members are Chairman Susan Swanson; Vice Chairman Jeff Johnson, retired Fire Chief of Tualatin Valley Oregon, CEO Western Fire Chiefs Association; OMB Director Mick Mulvaney; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Secretary of Homeland Security General Kelly; Chris Burbank, retired Salt Lake City Chief of Police; Neil E. Cox; former Vermont Governor James H. Douglas; Edward Horowitz; Kevin McGinnis; former Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker; Ed Reynolds; Sheriff Richard Stanek who's the Sheriff of Hennepin County, Minnesota; Teri Takai, former CIO of the states of California and Michigan. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this unique partnership. Thank you very much. Thank you sir, Secretary Ros. Also while we're thinking about the people that helped make this network happen, I would be remiss if we didn't take an opportunity to collectively thank the staff that made this all happen for us, so thank you to the staff. At this time I would like to invite TJ Kennedy, the president of FirstNet, to the podium. Good morning. Today is a momentous day for public safety. One of the things that public safety did is they asked for this network. Everybody in Congress, everybody across this country got together to make sure that the right elements were there to make a network happen that would allow police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians to better respond to the calls for service of emergencies across our country each and every day. This network will empower those firefighters, those police officers, those emergency responders to have the tools that they need to respond to those individual emergencies, to respond to those large events, the hurricanes, the tornadoes, the everyday things that happen when you're in your greatest time of need. But what will be different is today and going forward they will have the greatest and the latest technology tools and the network that makes sure that first responder communications are always first. They will have the ability to share data, to be able to share photos, to be able to share voice communications across all agencies: city, county, state, and federal agencies. Across all layers of public safety: police, fire, and EMS. And have the ability to make sure that the right situational awareness is there so that first responders can respond to the needs of Americans each and every day. This day is pretty historic because for many years we've had to rely on technology that did not give those most advanced tools and didn't get the latest innovation and technology into the hands of those that are responding. No longer will that be the case. The ability for every single first responder in this country to access one network and to have that network work across all 50 states, all five territories, the District of Columbia, and our tribal lands, and to have all agencies be able to work together and share mission-critical information on a moment's notice has now changed. Going forward for this generation of public safety, for the next generation of public safety, and the generation thereafter, this network is self-funded. This network will be sustainable. It will be upgraded and maintained in--upgradeable to the next layer of technology each and every time at the same time for first responders across the country. It's truly historic and all I can do is I want to thank the public safety stakeholders across this country. They spoke and asked for what they needed. We listened and made sure that as part of this process for this public-private partnership, we would get them the network they need for today and for tomorrow. And that has happened. And that has happened because everyone across the public safety family in the United States has stuck together to make sure that they have the tools that they need to be able to respond to those emergencies. It's a momentous day. I'm glad to be a part of it and I think it will change the way that public safety will respond forever because they will have the technology that they need to serve and meet your needs. Thank you. Thank you TJ. It is now my distinct pleasure to introduce the Chief Executive Officer of AT&T, Mr. Randall Stephenson, to the podium. Sir? Thank you Jeff--Chief Johnson, Secretary Ross, and TJ. It's really good to be here. And all of us at AT&T, we really are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America's police, firefighters, EMS, and other first responders that is going to be second to none. This unprecedented--and it's unprecedented--public-private investment in infrastructure makes America a leader and public safety a national priority. Our first responders we believe deserve the very best community cases technology to help them save lives and to make our communities safer. That is exactly what FirstNet gives them. So beginning this fall, AT&T will spend forty billion dollars to build and operate this network. And in the process we will create 10,000 new U.S. jobs over the next two years. FirstNet is a terrific model for how public-private partnerships can come together and accomplish really big things for America. And credit goes to Chairwoman Swenson and the entire FirstNet team. These folks ran an incredibly sophisticated, demanding, detailed, and a very transparent bidding process. It was a first-rate process and Secretary Ross, I'd like to tell you we're ready to get started. And thank you for the opportunity. Thank you Mr. Stephenson. Next it's my distinct pleasure to introduce the Chairman of the House Energy Committee and my fellow Oregonian, Congressman Greg Walden. Well Jeff, thank you. Thank you very much for the introduction. It's a delight to be here. Secretary Ross, TJ, Randall: thank you for your work on all of this to make this reality to our first responders. God bless you for what you do to keep us safe and save our lives. Thank you. I also want to thank David Redl and Ray Baum on our staff for the great work that they did all along the way. I want to--I see my former colleague Henry Waxman here and I think of the days and nights and weekends we spent working on this together with Anna Eshoo and Bob Latta, my vice chair at the subcommittee at the time, and I know Marsha Blackburn took over as the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. It will be her responsibility to watch and oversee to make sure that this law that we passed that's now being implemented actually produces the fruit that we all hope occurs. And so our FirstNet folks and our men and women who wear these uniforms and keep us safe and secure have the technology that they deserve and will take advantage of. In 2012 when I was serving as chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology I had the opportunity to work with my colleagues to carefully craft this legislation that would make FirstNet a reality. I remember hearing that this was like the last major plank in the 9/11 Commission findings that had yet to be implemented and it became our top priority to figure out how to get it done. Today with FirstNet's award of the contract to AT&T, the product of all that hard work is realized. Through this public-private partnership, FirstNet can begin to deliver on its mission to provide our first responders with a nationwide high-speed interoperable broadband public safety network to equip our first responders with the same robust communications capabilities enjoyed by the rest of the public, and to provide tools that transcend the limits of land mobile radios on which they had for so long relied. Perhaps most importantly, FirstNet will help deliver on the final recommendation of that 9/11 Commission's work and bring the most up-to-date communications capabilities to our nation's first responders, these brave men and women who protect us daily throughout the states, territories, and tribal lands, in all areas rural, urban, and in-between. I commend the board of FirstNet and the FirstNet staff for their tireless efforts and especially FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson, FirstNet CEO Mike Poth, FirstNet President TJ Kennedy, under whose leadership FirstNet gained its momentum and delivered on this promise. For more than two decades, my wife and I were in the small market radio business. We work closely with first responders. I'm probably only chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee that's actually wired in emergency alert system technology in a radio station. I know the value of having instant communication. I know the partnership that we share in a community to make sure those who need help get it in a timely manner and those who provide it can be able to communicate with each other. So thank you all who worked on this. This is a huge step forward that will create jobs, build infrastructure, and become self-funding, all along providing the most incredible technology known to humankind to the people who need it most. So I commend the leaders of the public safety community. Without their efforts in this, in the years leading up to the creation of FirstNet, we would not be here today. And I also want to thank Federal Communications Commission and especially under the able leadership of Ajit Pai as they work and do their part in this as well. Thank you all and Godspeed in getting this off the ground. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to invite the Chairwoman of the House Subcommittee, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, to say a few words if you would please. Good morning, and we are so thrilled to be able to join you all today and to say thank you to those of you who risked your lives and to be able to say you know what, we celebrate solving a problem that was recognized, was defined, and Chairman Walden came forward with the solution. And on behalf of the American people, it's a solution that is going to work, that is going to bring safety to our communities, to our streets, and allow our first responders, who now can be knitted together, to provide the type of safety that is expected, to provide the type response that is expected. So Mr. Secretary, we thank you for the invitation to be here today. And to Sue Swenson and Mike Poth and TJ Kennedy, we say thank you for the efforts in making this happen. And Mr. Stephenson, we're pleased that AT&T was a part of this process and will be a part of the process of building out this network and helping to bring forward the realization that yes indeed, government and the private sector can work together and bring about solutions that are going to serve the American people on a daily, weekly, and even an hourly basis. So we look forward to continuing the work with you all. There is still much to be done. Our efforts at the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will be led by Congresswoman Susan Brooks who is here on this stage with us today, and we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this process. Thank you. Thank you Madam Chair. Now please help me welcome the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Mr. Ajit Pai. Thank you Vice Chair Johnson for the introduction. Thank you to Secretary Ross for the invitation. Thank you to our public safety officials for being here today. The first task of any government, of any nation is to keep its people safe. That is increasingly a challenge in the digital age. Among other things 9/11 revealed vulnerabilities in our public safety communications system and those vulnerabilities, those gaps can make the difference between life and death. Congress addressed this problem in 2012 when they sought the creation of a nationwide interoperable public safety network, an initiative to be led by FirstNet. I know that elected officials, public safety officials, and others recognized at the time how much work had to be done. They embrace the spirit of Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher who said, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Well, step by step, they--we--are getting there. So I'm honored today to join Secretary Ross, Chairman Greg Walden, and many others in congratulating FirstNet. To its board led by Chairwoman Sue Swenson, to its president TJ Kennedy, and to its CEO Mike Poth, and to the members of the board, thank you for your efforts that led to where we are today. Today's signing ceremony is the capstone to many years of hard work by the public safety community, and so I'd like to thank them as well, and especially Chief Harlin McEwen for helping us get to this point. I'd also like to thank all those in Congress who acted on a bipartisan basis to get this project off the ground. Chairman Walden, Senator Rockefeller, Chairman Blackburn, former Congressman Waxman, and others engaged in a strong bipartisan effort to get this across the finish line. And finally I'd like to congratulate AT&T for being selected as the entity that will build out the network. For our part, the FCC remains committed to supporting FirstNet and the public safety community. We have given FirstNet a license for 20 megahertz of spectrum and the 700 megahertz band. We have submitted basic technical requirements for the network that FirstNet will construct. And our spectrum auctions have reproduced billions of dollars that will be used to fund construction of the public safety network. Going forward we look forward to working with FirstNet and members of Congress and others in the public safety community to doing what we can to help ensure the success of this project. You know each and every day we count on public safety professionals. They put their lives on the line so that we can be safe. That's why we owe it to them to provide them with the tools they need to get the job done. And a world-class modern technology network is one such tool. And so I'm pleased to be here this morning to celebrate the significant achievement. The journey of a thousand miles may not be over yet, but this is a major milestone toward getting there. Thank you for having me this morning. Thank you Chairman Pai. And finally most importantly we have representatives from public safety here to make some comments and I hope you'll join me in welcoming to the podium Chief James Schwartz who is actually a incident commander on 9/11 at the Pentagon and a dear and trusted friend. And Mr. Darrell Stephens. Please join me at the podium. Good morning. I hail from Arlington County which is a jurisdiction right across the river from the District of Columbia here in the national capital region, and I have the high privilege of serving as the Deputy County Manager for Public Safety. Previous to that I served 32 years with the Arlington County Fire Department, including the last 11 as chief of the department. I'm very proud to represent the men and women of public safety from Arlington County which has approximately 300 career firefighters and almost 400 sworn law enforcement officers. We are part of the national capital region, which is a specially designated area that provides support to our federal seat of government. And I think as we look at the events of taking on FirstNet as an important accompaniment to the mission that we provide to our communities, it's important to acknowledge that the densely populated metro areas need responders that can seamlessly communicate across a number of platforms. We saw no greater need for this than on September 11, 2001, when this region came together along with the support of assets specialized capabilities from all across the country. Urban search and rescue teams that hailed from Tennessee Congresswoman--all the way out to New Mexico and support teams that came from as far away as California, that needed to be able to communicate with us on our local platforms in order to provide the kind of support that was necessary in that large-scale response. That unified effort on September 11th was limited not by the abilities, by the professionalism of our first responders, but in many cases by our ability to communicate with each other. FirstNet will provide the ability for all of us on a both--on a daily basis as well as when we face the kind of national crisis that September 11th represents, be able to communicate with each other in new ways that quite frankly today we can't even completely foresee. The advent of video, the advent of the use of data, putting devices in the hands of responders that enable them to understand better what it is they are facing and better deal with the challenges that--the threats that were represented by 9/11 and have come since then, we face on an all too common basis. For us the tools that FirstNet will put in our hands is really a revelation. It's a new generation of tools and capabilities that will complement the dedication that the men and women of public safety across this country have to serve their communities. We actually hope not to see the kind of incidents that we experienced from September 11th in the future, but if we do, these tools will be essential to our success to serve our communities. I want to thank Congress for their foresight to be able to support this effort. I want to thank the FirstNet board for all of their efforts to continue through this long process to get us where we are here today. I want to congratulate AT&T for taking on this project in partnership with the government. And I certainly want to thank Secretary Ross on behalf of the United States government for their participation in this partnership. Thank you all very much. Good morning. Secretary Ross, public safety colleagues, and guests: It is a long awaited privilege to be here today representing the largest police agencies in our country, the Major Cities Chiefs. Since the tragic events of September 11, the September 11th attacks, we've worked with Congress and now three presidents to bring forward a national public safety network. Major cities have been a leading advocate of the national broadband communications network because it'll solve the problems that we've faced for decades. The planned system will finally ensure interoperability between multiple agencies that removes a barrier that's just totally unacceptable in this era of new technology. Public safety agencies will now have tools that have never been before possible: applications and other connected devices that can dramatically improve communication and collaboration among many different officers and agencies that come together to serve our communities during emergencies. As the largest public safety agencies, we're the biggest advocates for FirstNet and soon to become the biggest customers. That's why we have been so deeply involved in this process for many years. The chiefs from major metropolitan areas all joined as one voice with our public safety colleagues: major county sheriffs, fire chiefs, emergency medical services, all collaborated to help make this possible. And that's why I'm here today. We want to commend Secretary Ross for moving forward into the implementation of this all-important network. We're not only familiar with the provisions of the legislation, we were the advocates that helped negotiate these provisions with Congress. Please know that we're fully committed and pledged to work with FirstNet organization during this implementation phase. You can count on the nation's largest cities to support the efforts. Today's announcements marks a milestone for FirstNet. By choosing a partner to build the network FirstNet has moved from a planning phase to implementation. The advantages of state of the art technology will soon be on the hands of the men and women in public safety, and we do look forward to working with our new partner in AT&T. With this partnership now in place, FirstNet will deliver on the promise to public safety so that cutting-edge, life-saving technology can get into the hands of our police and first responders as soon as possible. We're eager to engage our commercial partner AT&T who will build and operate the network. As you expect we have many questions and concerns about features, services, and costs. Our thanks go to Mike Poth, FirstNet CEO, and TJ Kennedy. In the first step President TJ Kennedy has worked with us over the past several years very closely to keep us informed at every step of this process and make clear that the new network will reflect our needs and priorities. This is an example of Washington looking to the front lines for direction, not the other way around, and that speaks volumes to how this new national network will be designed and operated. When I began my career as a young police officer in Kansas City, it was an everyday reality that we were unable to talk to emergency services in the agencies surrounding Kansas City. The new innovation was a handheld radio that didn't always work when you need it. So that--to move forward to today, I served as police chief in five different cities, on 9/11 was the police chief in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and we could have used the kind of equipment and technology at that time. All across the country. We were not directly attacked but we were engaging our emergency services in anticipation of what might happen, because as you recall, we just simply did not know. When I was in Charlotte I also served as the president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association in 2007, when we joined with our partners to try to make this case of the importance of this network to Congressmen and people in the administration. And Congress responded. The subsequent administrations responded. And today we're in a position to where that vision can truly become a reality for America. When we began this journey years ago, we couldn't clearly see what the destination was ahead, but we can see it now. But it's going to require the same kind of collaboration that got us to here. We haven't built it yet. Building it is going to be--we think what we've done has been hard. That next phase is going to be even more challenging. And if we don't have the collaboration that we had to get here, then it's not going to be possible for us to achieve that vision that is so important to all of us. Godspeed. Thank you Chiefs. And now could we please have Secretary Ross, Mr. Stephenson, and FirstNet CEO Mike Poth take seats at the table for the signing of the commitment to public safety document with the establishment of the public-private partnership. You might have missed the best part of the day when Mr. Stephenson turns to Mr. Ross and says, "40 billion dollars." And Secretary Ross says, "46.5." Thank you all and thank you again to Secretary Ross for hosting today. We appreciate your attendance here today and I especially appreciate my brothers and sisters in public safety that made the trip to show your support for FirstNet. So with that, that concludes today's event. Thank you all. 

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