FirstNet Discussed on the Hill

“The First Responder Network (FirstNet) model represents a significant step forward from the traditional model for public safety communications”, said Samuel Ginn, Chairman of FirstNet’s Authority Board appearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. “Instead of having thousands of individual, dedicated, stand-alone public safety systems built for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services agencies, FirstNet will be an integrated nationwide public safety network.”

FirstNet is going to cover all of the states and territories and will need to serve more than 60,000 state, tribal, local, and federal public safety entities. To meet coverage requirements, the network will require tens of thousands of cell sites, a large core network, and secure satellite coverage for the hardest-to-serve areas.

FirstNet’s goal is to design and deploy a cutting-edge wireless broadband network to serve first responders and the public safety community with reliable, interoperable, wireless services, applications, and user devices at the lowest possible fees.

FirstNet will be the only network ever built entirely to meet public safety level specifications for security and reliability. The network will also be the only network to cover an entire nation geographically as opposed to coverage by population centers.

So far, some preliminary activities include:

  • Building an organization and management team
  • Executing an aggressive consultation and outreach strategy
  • Conducting  market research on terrestrial and satellite wireless carriers to identify optimal financial and operational deployment alternatives for the public safety network
  • Conducting business and financial modeling for the various network deployment scenarios
  • Evaluating network engineering technologies and potential network designs
  • Working with standards-setting bodies to ensure public safety critical communications elements are included in the standards
  • Performing network coverage planning and engineering activities
  • Establishing standard operating procedures in consultation with public safety entities
  • Working with network operators to ensure local control and incident response


FirstNet has structured their Public Safety Advisory Committee comprised of state, tribal and local organizations. The first face-to-face meeting is expected to take place in April. The Advisory Committee’s leadership will be presenters at conferences and act as advocates conducting direct outreach and soliciting feedback.


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