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.
  • There are two distinct parts to FirstNet:
  1. FirstNet.gov which is an official website of the United States government run by NTIA in the DOC.
  2. FirstNet.com which is run by AT&T.

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.
  • The FirstNet providers are trying to engage the trauma process in the hospital as well.
    In these seconds, a hospital's emergency response plan is activated, and priority communication is key to life-saving trauma care. While the ER focuses on triage, administrators oversee care coordination between the ER, OR, radiology and various specialty departments because all hands are on deck. FirstNet is the right technology for the job.
  • The FirstNet app and device developers are are supported by government.
    With FirstNet, developers can bring public-safety apps and solutions to the first-responder community and help modernize our nation’s public safety tools and capabilities -- an incredible opportunity to be a part of transforming communications for those who save lives and protect our communities across the nation.

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