The Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA) and the Public Safety Spectrum Alliance (PSSA) hosted the FirstNet 10-Year Anniversary Celebration at the Press Club in Washington DC on February 22, 2022. The event marked the first 10 years of progress achieved by our nation’s first and only public safety broadband network, FirstNet. When Congress allocated the D-Block Spectrum to public safety in February of 2012, it triggered a tectonic change in the relationship between first responders and wireless broadband service providers. Prior to this key legislation, public safety was left to bend to the will of the service providers profit model. Since the inception of FirstNet, Public Safety has taken this prize spectrum to places even the founders hadn’t anticipated.
The program included panels with illuminating insight and reflection on the history FirstNet, how FirstNet is delivering on its promise to first responders and public safety as a whole, a progress report of where FirstNet now stands, how FirstNet innovations and solutions are meeting the demands of its users for America’s First Responders, and how FirstNet is and will continue to meet the needs of public safety, in addition to key remarks by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
View her remarks HERE
A Purposeful Design; Delivering on FirstNet’s Promise to Public Safety panelists Richard Mirgon, Vice President, PSBTA, Police Chief Charles Dowd (Ret), and Fire Chief Jeff Johnson (Ret) took attendees through the philosophy of FirstNet, an explanation of the wisdom of the framework, and the criticality of the private public partnership. View Panel session HERE
Delivering on FirstNet’s Promise to Public Safety, a panel moderated by Ed Parkinson, CEO, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), and panelists, Stephen Benjamin, FirstNet Authority Chair, and Richard Carrizzo, FirstNet Authority Vice Chair discussed how the partnership is delivering on the promise of FirstNet for public safety today, and the organization’s goals for evolving the network for the future. FirstNet Authority Chair, Stephen Benjamin stated at the conclusion of the panel how the board and staff will “listen more and talk less”, a renewed promise to public safety that the FirstNet Authority is listening to and will meet their needs. View panel session HERE
FirstNet Progress Report panelists Fire Chief Jeff Johnson (Ret), Police Chief Harlin McEwen (Ret), and EMS Chief Kevin McGinnis (Ret), reflected on how FirstNet’s founding principles are guiding it’s future and ergo our priorities for serving public safety. View session HERE
FirstNet Innovation for America’s First Responders, a panel moderated by Jason Porter, President of Public Sector and FirstNet at AT&T, with panelists Fire Chief Kim Zagaris (Ret), and Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr., Walton County, FL, Christopher Becenti, Executive Director for Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, and Charlie Guddemi, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA, focused on how FirstNet is driving innovation in life-saving, public safety technology. Jason Porter facilitated a discussion about FirstNet Innovation with public safety leaders from across the country and public safety disciplines. FirstNet-dedicated solutions have equipped public safety agencies with new tools to securely and reliably communicate and enhance their situational awareness to help keep emergency personnel and the communities they serve safe. Each participant was able to point to specific incidents within their communities where FirstNet enabled greater connectivity, both in the emergency and non-emergency settings. Of particular interest are the improvements realized in our country’s more rural settings, such as the tribal communities. Christopher Bencenti, Executive Director for Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission from Arizona, spoke to the overall improvement of coverage and capacity across the tribal lands within his community. These are improvements that would likely never have happened, without the advent of FirstNet. View panel session HERE
FirstNet Meeting Public Safety Future Needs, a panel moderated by Police Chief Chris Moore & Fire Chief Jeff Johnson, and with panelists Deputy Fire Chief Chris Lombard, Seattle Fire Department, Deputy Chief Keith Kelley, Athens-Clark County Police Department, and Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue. Two of the pioneers of public safety broadband system development, Chris Moore and Jeff Johnson, led this insightful and optimistic panel discussion with some of public safety’s more dynamic, young leaders. This discussion allowed attendees to look to the future. Each chief added valuable insight into the future communication needs for police and fire, in addition to all the supporting agencies, and explored how FirstNet is going to enable the innovation necessary to address tomorrow’s mitigation needs. Chief Buchanan spoke to the importance of “illuminating the blind spots” is one of the ways public safety leaders can rise to meet the challenges facing the first responder community. The panel highlighted that though landmark work has been done, but there are still many goal to achieve; we’re off to a good start, but we need to keep the momentum going. View panel session HERE
The program concluded with the PSBTA Awards ceremony. The Association acknowledged the several individuals and companies who made significant contributions on the road to the creation of FirstNet.
PSBTA Award for Public Safety Leadership
This award acknowledged exemplary leadership by a public safety official, active or retired, who has made significant contribution with a positive impact on Public Safety Broadband. Awardee Mel Maier has demonstrated years of dedication and service to advancing and improving public safety’s broadband and FirstNet technology.
PSBTA Andy Seybold Award for Technology Innovation
This award acknowledges exemplary leadership from a technology professional or company who has made a significant and positive contribution to Public Safety Broadband. The awardee will have demonstrated a signification technical contribution that had a significant positive impact on public safety broadband and FirstNet.
- Assured Wireless and Airgain have made significant contribution through their research and product development of the High-Power User Equipment, in support of FirstNet’s Megarange offering. These innovations have allowed first responders to expand the reach of their existing networks, in addition to enriching signal reach and penetration in the urban environment.
- Rescue 42 has bridged coverage gaps, either due to catastrophic impacts on the network or inherent coverage challenges, by allowing agencies to bring their own connectivity through Compact Rapid Deployable wireless assets. This technology is revolutionizing how first responders can self-sustain and preserve their connectivity in all circumstances.
PSBTA Award for Legislative Leadership
This award acknowledges exemplary leadership by a member of congressional or executive branch staff. Terrell McSweeny has not only shown dedication for public safety technology issues but has taken extraordinary steps to build relationship with public safety and advance legislation related to public safety technology. The advancement of FirstNet could never be realized without them.
PSBTA Award for Congressional Leadership
This award acknowledges exemplary leadership by a member of Congress. Representative Peter King, Senator Jay Rockefeller, and Representative Greg Walden have not only shown dedication for public safety technology issues but have taken extraordinary steps to build relationship with public safety and advance legislation related to public safety technology.
View the awards presentations HERE
A video recording of the entire program can be viewed HERE