At the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR), we are frequently asked about our relationship to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) First Responder Network Authority-also known as the FirstNet Authority. In this article, we shed light on the history of this relationship, how we work together today, and how you can learn more about each organization.
DATE: May 23, 2022
The history of PSCR and the FirstNet Authority
The FirstNet Authority and PSCR are partnering agencies within the Department of Commerce that have complemented each other’s work for approximately a decade. The tragic events of 9/11 demonstrated the need for the federal government to improve first responder communications. PSCR aided these efforts by actively participating in the requirements gathering and standards development process for public safety communications. This contribution led PSCR to receive $300 million in funding from the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which also established the FirstNet Authority. The funding directed NIST to perform critical public safety communications research and development (R&D) during a 10-year period. PSCR has since used these funds to pioneer technological innovation, accelerate cutting-edge communications research, and set critical communication standards.