By Dave Buchanan
Public safety engagement has been at the heart of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) work since it was created by Congress in 2012. The FirstNet Authority has consulted with hundreds of thousands of first responders across the nation throughout the development of FirstNet—from the early stages of planning an approach, to the development of a Request for Proposal to build the network, to the award of the contract in March 2017. Following this hand-in-hand collaboration, all 56 states and territories decided to opt into the FirstNet network.
One year ago this month, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the first to opt in. Today, more than 1,000 agencies have joined FirstNet and are using it to help serve their communities. The FirstNet solution provides priority and preemption, and users have access to apps and device ecosystems, as well as local control features and more. Public safety’s dedicated spectrum (Band 14) is being built out and the dedicated FirstNet Core has launched with SIM cards that connect first responders to this physical infrastructure.