Leaders in all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C. have opted-in for a unified wireless broadband network that will give first responders streamlined communications and priority status during emergencies. Dubbed “FirstNet” the new public safety network was conceived after issues arose with communications during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Congress passed legislation to establish the Network in 2012, and for the past five years, the First Responder Network Authority worked closely with public safety to develop customized plans for building the Network in each state and territory. Governors received those plans in October of 2017 and were given 90 days to opt-in or create their own versions.
“As first responders, we face an incredible amount of risk every day. So, to have a network that is focused on driving innovative capabilities to improve our safety is game changing,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “2017 was a pivotal year for public safety. And with the advancements planned for 2018, it’s only going to get better.”
The First Responder Network Authority’s public-private partnership with AT&T will provide emergency personnel with immediate access to mission-critical communication capabilities. This includes priority and preemption features that give first responders their own ‘fast lane’ on the public safety network to communicate and share information during emergencies, large events, or other situations when commercial networks could become congested.
What’s Ahead in 2018
The coming year will be a game changer for public safety as FirstNet expands across the nation and more innovative technologies and applications come online for public safety subscribers.
“Our FirstNet offering will forever change the way first responders communicate,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T-FirstNet. “Securing 53 opt-ins is significant for the public safety personnel that this network will serve.”
Key FirstNet milestones and activities planned for 2018 include:
· Expanding the Network and Building Out Band 14
· Driving Public Safety Innovation
· Securing Emergency Communications
· Engaging with Public Safety
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