FirstNet, the independent authority tasked with building a first-ever, nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety, announced Wednesday a huge initiative toward realization of the network.
The agency finalized a yearlong process to establish mechanisms and relationships that will let it systematically collect critical information and input from all U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia that will benefit from the network.
“The release of the initial consultation package is an important next step in our coordination and planning work with the states, as well as implementing FirstNet’s program roadmap,” says T.J. Kennedy, deputy general manager. “Each state plan will be developed through an iterative process, and this package will ensure a strong foundation as we begin consultations with each state and territory so we can hit the ground running.”
FirstNet, created in 2012 by Congress and part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, was appropriated $7 billion for the mission. It will seek help from private industry for help in building and managing the network. It plans for a terrestrial LTE network to cover roughly 60 percent of the United States with other communications for firefighters, police and medical responders served through mobile communications and satellite systems.
“We are enthusiastic and prepared to begin in-person consultations with each state and territory,” says David Buchanan, FirstNet director of State Consultation. “Through a highly collaborative process, we will engage each state and territory to understand and support the needs of their public.”