FirstNet Facts

Facts about FirstNet: Our nation’s public safety broadband network

FirstNet is the national public safety network, helping law enforcement, firefighters and EMS save lives and protect communities across the United States. The FirstNet network will be a reliable, secure broadband network dedicated to public safety. It will be a force-multiplier for first responders, giving the public safety community the 21st-century communication tools it needs to carry out its vital mission.

Below are key facts about FirstNet. Read about it here – or DOWNLOAD a FirstNet Fact sheet. You can also follow #FirstNetFacts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

The Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

FirstNet is an independent federal authority with a statutory duty and responsibility to take all actions necessary to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (“Network” or “NPSBN”) based on a single, national network architecture.  FirstNet was established by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (“Act”) in response to public safety advocacy. FirstNet’s statutory responsibility is to establish the NPSBN, which includes not only the Core Network, but also the Radio Access Network (RAN) in each state or territory, whether deployed by FirstNet or potential opt-out states.

The Act identifies two separate components that initially comprise the NPSBN: the Core Network and the RAN.  Under the Act, FirstNet is responsible for ensuring that all components of the NPSBN, including the Core Network and the RAN, are built, deployed, operated, and maintained, and, ultimately, that the NPSBN provides services to public safety entities throughout the nation.

In particular, the Act made FirstNet the sole entity responsible for deploying a Core Network to serve public safety users.  However, the Act requires governors to choose whether to have FirstNet manage and remain fully responsible for the RAN deployment within the state or – upon successful completion of a statutorily mandated approval process – assume full responsibility (e.g, financial, risk, construction, operational, legal) for RAN deployment (“opt-out”).

The Governors Decision – opt in / opt out (updated January 30, 2018)

All, 56 states and territories have selected the FirstNet Plan (“opt-in”) for the Network.

The FirstNet Core

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act) created FirstNet, at the urging of public safety, to ensure the establishment of an interoperable and nationwide broadband network for the public safety community.  To help achieve this mission, the Act expressly authorized only FirstNet to build, operate, and maintain a Core Network to serve public safety entities nationwide.

Consistent with the Act, and following public notice and comment, FirstNet determined that the deployment of a single, national network architecture with a Core Network dedicated to public safety users across the country will reduce the risk of complications inherent in a multi-core architecture (operated by distinct entities), such as operational complexity, security complexity, and increased latency.  The FirstNet Core will have built-in redundancy to provide end-to-end cybersecurity.

The FirstNet Core became operational in March 2018. The FirstNet Core Network’s primary functions are vital to public safety's life-saving mission and will differentiate FirstNet services from commercial offerings. For example, it will be responsible for identity, credential, and access management (ICAM); application assurance; Quality of Service, priority, and preemption (QPP); monitoring and reporting of Network health; and securing highly sensitive data with full encryption over the FirstNet Network.


Check out and share these videos with the FirstNet facts!

FirstNet State Plans in 100 Seconds

FirstNet: A Broadband Network for Public Safety by Public Safety

Hear What Public Safety Leaders Are Saying About FirstNet

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