A 911 operator demonstrating FirstNet remote 911 capability at a conference

Putting FirstNet to the test for remote 9-1-1 operations

One thing the 9-1-1 community learned from the pandemic was the need to plan for alternate ways to work. Rather than be tied to workstations at fixed locations, 9-1-1 telecommunicators need flexibility to remotely take, dispatch, and supervise calls. In December 2021, Maryland telecommunicators put FirstNet to the test, demonstrating the network’s connectivity and reliability during remote operations.

A group of Sacramento Fire Department firefighters standing in front of a fire engine

First Responder Communication Proves Critical During Earthquake Response Exercise

Local and state public agencies and hundreds of attendees gathered in Sonoma to participate in a full-scale earthquake response exercise hosted by the California National Guard and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Fire Rescue Branch. At the response exercise, FirstNet was onsite to ensure that technology ran smoothly and supplied deployable assets like High Power User Equipment, or devices that have a cellular modem enabling users to connect to a cellular network.


A police officer choosing an image to send on his FirstNet enabled smartphone

Testing FirstNet’s mission-critical tech in the real world

How do FirstNet’s Z-Axis and Push-To-Talk work in real-life scenarios? The FirstNet Authority partnered with the Major County Sheriffs of America to conduct a technology trial of these capabilities. By putting the technology into the hands of officers on the job, we can evaluate its real-world usability, discover any adjustments needed, and plan for future upgrades.

Command Center logo; Captain John Vallarelli headshot; a New York subway train stopped on the platform with open doors

From the Command Center: A Conversation with Captain John Vallarelli, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department

Enhancing communications for public safety has been at the heart Captain John Vallarelli’s career. As he rose through the ranks of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department in New York, he oversaw many aspects of the agency’s communications systems, and he was instrumental in supporting interoperability for officers using the regional radio system and FirstNet.

View of Hurricane Laura from space

Driving Innovation for Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery

Long before the rain starts falling or the wind starts blowing, first responders are focused on planning for hurricanes. Innovative features and functions on FirstNet and programs available through the FirstNet Authority help public safety agencies as they prepare for, respond to, and recover from these disasters.

Illustration representing technology, connections, and wireless network terminology: AHCG, ATG, 5G, MCdata, IoT, Core, R17

Completion of 3GPP Release 17 is Key Outcome of March Plenary Meeting

The first-quarterly Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Plenary e-meetings of 2022 concluded in March. Participants completed work on 3GPP Release 17 that enhances aspects of the 5G system and marks the conclusion of the first phase of the 5G technology evolution. Delegates also made significant progress on Release 18 that will include new innovations delivering the 5G vision.

FirstNet Authority board member Warren Mickens headshot; a cell tower

FirstNet Authority Board member champions diversity

Warren Mickens, who has an extensive career in leading technology and manufacturing companies, was appointed to the FirstNet Authority Board in October 2021. We sat down with Mr. Mickens to get his perspectives on FirstNet and the FirstNet Authority’s mission. He talks about his engineering background, the experiences that shaped him most, and his work championing cultural diversity.

A group of emergency managers having a meeting

How FirstNet helps mitigate disasters

The mitigation phase of emergency management includes all the steps taken to minimize the impact of disasters. FirstNet can play an important role in mitigation. Smart cities and remote sensors are two ways that technology is advancing mitigation efforts and disaster management, and FirstNet provides the prioritized and secure connectivity that public safety needs for these technologies.

Public works official works on down electric wires near tree; police officer stands next to law enforcement vehicle and looks at mobile phone with large forested hill in background; firefighter in uniform holds tablet in front of fire engine; telecommunicator wearing headset sits at desk with multiple computer screens; public safety official holds up smartphone; emergency management services official looks at mobile device in back of ambulance with patient and equipment

Recognizing Public Safety Heroes this Spring

In the spring, we take time to honor those in emergency communications, the fire service, law enforcement, and emergency medical services, as well as our nation’s public servants and volunteers. Throughout April and May, we celebrate the bravery and dedication of the men and women of public safety and thank them for their service, courage, and sacrifices.

A FirstNet compact rapid deployable; a cell tower

FirstNet at 10 Years: Coverage, Deployables, 5G

Coverage is king for public safety communications. Since its creation, the FirstNet Authority has focused on ensuring first responders have coverage and connectivity whenever and wherever they need it. Deployables, high power user equipment, and a focus on 5G are some of the new ways FirstNet subscribers can get coverage in hard-to-reach areas.