WASHINGTON — Senior leaders of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and members of the organization’s technical team met September 11 with the 41-member Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) in San Diego, CA. The agenda included a progress update and discussion of activities in support of the development of FirstNet, a single, nationwide, high-speed network dedicated to public safety.
FirstNet General Manager Bill D’Agostino described the momentum at FirstNet since May. As significant signs of progress, he cited:
- The successful conclusion of six regional consultation workshops
- The completion of a Request for Information (RFI) process on devices and issuance of RAN and core network RFIs
- Spectrum lease agreements with LA-RICS and New Mexico
- Hiring of senior managers
- Creation of a regional operating model aligned with the 10 FEMA regions
- Board approval of a $194M budget for 2014
“Spending the day with 41 representatives of the public safety community gave us deeper insights into the needs of FirstNet users and galvanized our shared commitment to the FirstNet mission,” said D’Agostino. “We are fortunate to have these dedicated experts and ambassadors working on key initiatives that will help us effectively design and deliver a network and services that public safety can count on during emergencies and at work every day.”
He also outlined six major initiatives  that FirstNet will focus on during 2014 and thanked the PSAC for its contributions to date.
"I am very pleased with the outcome of the first all-day, in-person PSAC meeting,” said Harlin McEwen, PSAC Chairman. “In addition to a large turnout of PSAC members, five FirstNet Board members attended. The technical briefings were excellent, and the exchange between the PSAC members, those conducting the briefings and the Board members was encouraging."
TJ Kennedy, FirstNet Deputy General Manager, took the opportunity to solicit PSAC input on eligible users of the FirstNet network, discussing the role of secondary users and support personnel. Craig Farrill, FirstNet Acting CTO, described the work that the technical team will do in support of the six initiatives for 2014. Updates on what was learned from responses to the April 15 device RFI were shared, along with technical information on ways to meet public safety requirements for coverage and capacity. Discussion also focused on components of the FirstNet core including architectural elements for delivering local control.
FirstNet will provide emergency responders with the first high-speed, nationwide network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet is designed to improve communication among local, state, regional, tribal and national emergency services personnel. The broadband data network will help save lives and protect the health and safety of all Americans. It will be built using LTE, the most advanced wireless technology available today. FirstNet fulfills a fundamental need of the public safety community for a single, mission-critical communications system enabling force multiplier effectiveness. Overseen by representatives of public safety, government and the wireless industry, FirstNet is an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (www.firstnet.gov ).