The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA to provide emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed, broadband network dedicated to public safety.
First responders need a reliable, resilient broadband network to perform their life saving mission. Most teenagers today own smartphones that are more powerful communications devices than those typically used by the public safety community. In many cases, emergency responders have to bring their own smartphones to work to access applications, search databases and share videos. FirstNet will facilitate the use of rugged, easy-to-use devices designed to meet public safety requirements and provide a rich set of applications and services that enhance their ability to do their jobs. The FirstNet network should provide the backbone to allow the public safety community to improve its communications and perform its mission more safely.