By Edward Parkinson, CEO, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority)
Broadband has become the lifeblood of our economy. It is also essential to our national security and public safety, a fact that first responders recognized many years ago. The tragedies of September 11th revealed fundamental problems with the communication systems used by our nation’s first responders. They needed a more advanced telecommunications infrastructure for their lifesaving mission, a reliable one to help them communicate and share information during emergencies and daily operations.
In the years following the terrorist attacks, public safety from across all disciplines, including 9-1-1, EMS, fire service and law enforcement, joined together to advocate for their own high-speed broadband network. In 2012, Congress enacted a law to create the First Responder Network Authority within the Department of Commerce to ensure the building, deployment and operation of FirstNet, America’s only nationwide public safety broadband network.