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Inaugural Board for FirstNet Public Safety Network Announced

Today the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) within the Department of Commerce announced the composition of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board.  FirstNet was created earlier this year by Congress through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act with the mandate to create a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network that will enable police, firefighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials to more effectively communicate and do their jobs.  The Act mandates the NTIA to form a FirstNet Board by August 20 comprised of 15 members.  Three senior administration officials – the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of Office of Management and Budget – are permanent members of the FirstNet Board. The remaining 12 members were nominated by the Secretary of Commerce today and include 4 public safety officials, 7 telecommunications and information technology professionals, and 1 former mayor.  The 12 non-permanent Board members are:

  • Tim Bryan, CEO, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative
  • Charles “Chuck” Dowd, Deputy Chief, New York City Police Department 
  • F. Craig Farrill, Wireless telecommunications executive 
  • Paul Fitzgerald, Sheriff, Story County, Iowa
  • Samuel “Sam” Ginn, Telecommunications executive  
  • Jeffrey Johnson, Fire Chief (retired); former Chair, State Interoperability Council, State of Oregon; CEO, Western Fire Chiefs Association
  • William Keever, Telecommunications executive (retired)
  • Kevin McGinnis, Chief/CEO, North East Mobile Health Services 
  • Ed Reynolds, Telecommunications executive (retired)
  • Susan Swenson, Telecommunications/technology executive 
  • Teri Takai, Government information technology expert; former CIO, states of Michigan and California 
  • Wellington Webb, Founder, Webb Group International; former Mayor, Denver, Colorado

For more information on the composition of the FirstNet board see NTIA’s announcement at

Later this week, NTIA is scheduled to release requirements relating to the State and Local Implementation Grant Program.  This program provides funds of up to $135 million to assist state, regional, tribal, and local jurisdictions to identify, plan, and implement the most efficient and effective way to utilize and integrate the infrastructure, equipment, and other architecture associated with FirstNet.  NTIA’s grant rules expected this week will include the following important developments: define eligible costs under the State and Local Implementation grant program; determine the scope of eligible activities for grant funding; and prioritize grants for activities that ensure coverage in rural as well as urban areas.  

Connected Nation will monitor these developments and post updates as they become available. You can review Connected Nation's Policy memo on the FirstNet Board here. 

Please use the comments section below and tell us what you think of this historic public safety network buildout.