Edward Parkinson, Chief Executive Officer, First Responder Network Authority
This week marked the fourth anniversary of the public-private partnership formed by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) and our network contractor AT&T. On March 30, 2017, we launched this first-of-its-kind partnership and, importantly, took a major step in realizing public safety’s vision for their own specialized communications network. Today, that network — FirstNet — is a reality for America’s first responders.
The genesis of FirstNet, unfortunately, is rooted in tragedy. The September 11, 2001, attacks on our nation revealed fundamental problems with the communications systems used by our first responders. Legions of police, fire, and paramedics responded to the attacks, but struggled to communicate with each other because the radio systems they relied on did not easily operate between agencies. Land lines and mobile phones were so overwhelmed that first responder communications were further limited.