The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) capped off a year of significant progress for public safety by welcoming new members to the Board and outlining an enhanced strategic direction for the organization. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross swore in the new members at the U.S. Department of Commerce on December 12 and thanked the members for their service to our country and their commitment to guiding the work of FirstNet.
On December 13, the newly sworn-in members held their quarterly Board meeting, the FirstNet Authority set a course for advancing the nationwide public safety broadband network and creating a dedicated, differentiated broadband communications experience for public safety users across the nation. With network deployment moving at a rapid pace, FirstNet Authority leadership pledged to continue working with the public safety community to develop roadmaps and investment priorities to inform the growth and evolution of the network.
“This has been a historic year for FirstNet and public safety. The network was launched, and FirstNet is helping first responders do their jobs more efficiently and effectively,” said FirstNet Board Chair Edward Horowitz. “But there is much more work to do to deliver on the promise of FirstNet, and I am pleased to be working alongside a team of experts on the FirstNet Board as we continue to move FirstNet forward for public safety, with public safety.”
Within the last year, FirstNet achieved several key milestones, including:
- The first network to offer preemption over LTE for public safety
- The only network to launch a dedicated, physically separate core network for public safety
- Launching the nationwide buildout of public safety’s Band 14 spectrum
- Delivering a full fleet of 72 dedicated deployable assets – assets public safety used this year to respond to disasters from Hurricanes Michael and Florence, as well as wildfires in California and Oregon
- Growing and expanding FirstNet’s applications and devices ecosystem, including the latest smartphones with built in Band 14 access.
At the Board meeting, FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson previewed the strategic plan that will guide the organization through 2022. Public safety input will continue to be the cornerstone of FirstNet’s success, and the strategic plan will focus on understanding public safety’s needs for the Network and driving innovation to meet those needs.
“Public safety fought for its own network for a reason, and the FirstNet Authority has vital a role to play in ensuring that the network is delivered and evolves for public safety,” said Parkinson. “Under this strategic vision, the FirstNet Authority will serve as a catalyst for advancing the nationwide public safety broadband network, aligning our resources and efforts to maximize the impact of FirstNet for America’s first responders.”