Bringing broadband to Tribal responders has always been a priority for the FirstNet Authority. When Board members visited the Navajo Nation – which spans Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah – they learned how deployables and expanded coverage are bringing interoperability to the tribe’s emergency communications. FirstNet has played an important role during major events like the pandemic response and a visit from the First Lady of the United States.

The FirstNet Authority worked with AT&T to host a first responder student innovation challenge at the University of Cincinnati. The two-week event brought UC students together with local public safety agencies to explore how technology could be used to enhance first responders’ ability to address critical situations.

First responders at any size event depend on reliable communication to ensure a successful and safe outcome. In preparation for the Super Bowl in 2022, Los Angeles area public safety agencies’ used the FirstNet Authority’s pre-planning event support to help maximize broadband capabilities. This free and unique service from the FirstNet Authority resulted in more timely and efficient decision-making, better coordinated responses, and well-managed resources and logistics.

Jeff Pierce has served for decades as South Dakota’s statewide interoperability coordinator and engineering manager for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications. On the brink of retirement, Pierce shares his vantage point looking at the past, present, and future of public safety communications. No matter where Pierce looks, he sees interoperability as the key to effective public safety communications.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) frequently collaborates with the First Responder Network Authority to advance public safety communications. Whether partnering on prize challenges, standards development, R&D testing, or the Public Safety Immersive Test Center, the two organizations are working together to spur technology development for first responders.