FirstNet Outlines 2018 Milestones

"America's first responders now have a nationwide interoperable network they can rely on 24/7/365 – like their mission," said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. "I applaud these governors for their decision and congratulate public safety for its advocacy and partnership throughout the process."

All 50 states, two U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C., have now joined FirstNet, the wireless broadband network to be dedicated to public safety, and officials involved in it said Dec. 29 it has big plans for 2018. The statutory 90-day decision period for state governors to opt in or out of the FirstNet proposed Radio Access Network (RAN) buildout plan ended Dec. 28, and every state accepted the FirstNet deployment plan. Three U.S. territories have until March 12, 2018, to make their decision: American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

"This is a landmark day and monumental achievement for public safety – one that has been years in the making," said First Responder Network Authority Board Chair Sue Swenson. "There are many who said this network would never happen, but public safety never gave up on their network. Because of their vision and hard fought efforts, I can proudly say that this life-saving network is now a reality across America: FirstNet is going to enhance the safety and security of our first responders and the people they serve."

Congress passed legislation to establish the network in 2012. Since then, the First Responder Network Authority worked closely with public safety to develop customized plans for building the network in each state and territory.

"With every state saying 'yes' to the FirstNet plan, America's first responders now have a nationwide interoperable network they can rely on 24/7/365 – like their mission," said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. "I applaud these governors for their decision and congratulate public safety for its advocacy and partnership throughout the process. With more than 50 states and territories participating in FirstNet, public safety is assured of an enduring, self-sufficient network to serve them for years to come."

The 2018 activities will include:

  • The First Responder Network Authority will issue work orders to deploy the RANs in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the two opt-in territories in early 2018, which will give AT&T the green light to expand FirstNet's footprint and deploy Band 14 capacity and coverage throughout the country.
  • FirstNet will unlock a new technology marketplace for public safety, and its App store will be filling up with FirstNet-approved mobile apps that are optimized for public safety use over the first responder network.
  • On schedule to be operational in March, the FirstNet public safety core will provide full encryption of public safety data over FirstNet and provide end-to-end cyber security. FirstNet subscribers will have access to a dedicated Security Operations Center offering 24/7/365 support.

"While getting to this point is a major achievement for public safety, our job is not finished," Poth said. "We still have much work to do to realize the full potential of FirstNet for public safety everywhere, including rural America, and we will move full speed ahead to make it happen."

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