By Jeremy Zollo, FirstNet Outreach State and Local Branch Chief
The FirstNet outreach team was pleased to participate in the Missouri Communications Conference this week in Lake Ozark, MO. This year’s conference is a combined event hosted by the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Missouri APCO. By merging their respective communication conferences into one statewide event, the DPS and Missouri APCO brought together hundreds of emergency response personnel from the state’s 911 community, first responder disciplines (fire, EMS, law enforcement), and Emergency Operations Centers to discuss key developments impacting the use of communications during emergencies.
The conference provided attendees with many opportunities to learn more about FirstNet’s efforts to plan for and deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network. During my keynote presentation on Monday, I discussed how advances in broadband technology can benefit first responder communications now and into the future. I also explained how FirstNet would continue to work with the state Single Point of Contract (SPOC), Bryan Courtney, to better understand the potential users, coverage goals, and capacity requirements for the network in Missouri.
Additionally, I participated in a breakout session that allowed for a productive dialogue between conference attendees and me on topics such as FirstNet’s plans for a request for proposal, public notice, the state consultation process, and other key milestones for deploying the network. I also had the pleasure of attending two sessions, including a “Missouri FirstNet 101” session hosted by Bob Bloomberg, who has been performing outreach across the state. I also attended a public safety broadband session hosted by Steve Devine, who is the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Coordinator.
Thanks to the Missouri DPS and Missouri APCO for providing FirstNet with an opportunity to participate in their conference. I enjoyed hearing from many local first responders about their communication needs and challenges and catching up with Bryan and his team, who are doing a tremendous job engaging and preparing the state for the public safety broadband network.