In 2012, the “First Responder Network Authority” or referred to as (FirstNet) www.firstnet.gov was signed into law. This law enables FirstNet to build, operate, and maintain the first high-speed nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety and provide a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications.
The FirstNet organization is the first of its kind. Never before has Congress established an independent government authority governed by a 15 member Board that includes the Secretary of Homeland Security, Attorney General of the U.S., Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and 12 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce composed of representatives from public safety, government, and the wireless industry.
The organization has a mandate to provide specialized communication service for public safety. Using nationwide 700MHz spectrum, FirstNet will put an end to interoperability and communications challenges.
Last August, the FirstNet Board approved a $6.585 billion budget to support the award of a Network contract in FY 17 which also includes $85 million for FirstNet operations as part of the budget package,
FirstNet will contribute 20 Megahertz of low-band spectrum to build and operate the Network during a 25 year term. FirstNet is in the evaluation phase of the procurement process and remains on track to award the contract in November 2016.
FirstNet CEO Mike Poth reports, “This budget provides us with the flexibility to deliver 56 individual State plans and enables public safety adoption of the Network. We look forward to having a contract in order to firm up the targeted milestones including the delivery of draft and final state plans.”