FirstNet

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Full Title

The FirstNet mission is to deploy, operate, maintain, and improve the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.

Context

A reliable, highly secure, interoperable, and innovative public safety communications platform will bring pre-emptive LTE (wireless 4G) service to public safety agencies and first responders, allowing them to get more information quickly and helping them to make faster and better decisions.

Problems

First responder networks have been delivered to public service agencies for years with promises of good service in emergencies, but have failed to deliver when the emergencies happened. Dave Mulholland — Administrator for the Arlington Co. (VA) Emergency Communications Center — discusses the evolution of emergency communications in the National Capital Region and shares his experiences on past problems in this podcast.[1]

Solutions

  • This effort was lead by the public service agencies petitioning the US congress to find a solution after the 9-11 fiasco.
  • The solution required preemption of the cellular network for emergency traffic. At first only AT&T offered preemption service as FirstNet and signed up all 50 states.
  • Now (2019-06-01) Verizon offers preemption for emergency traffic as well.
  • Accountability for performance of the network under the stress of an emergency was accepted by the FirstNet design center in Boulder.[2]
  • Conduct Risk Assessment is required of any organization that wants to maintain the public trust in their performance.

References

  1. FirstNet, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9V4T_1a86g
  2. The FirstNet Lab and Future Experience Center https://firstnet.gov/newsroom/blog/firstnet-lab-and-future-experience-center