FirstNet Facts: Ensuring States, Territories & Public Safety Have the Information They Need

October 27, 2017
Engaging with public safety has and always will be central to everything we do at FirstNet.
Engaging with public safety has and always will be central to everything we do at FirstNet.

By Mike Poth, FirstNet CEO

The communications network America’s first responders fought for is on its way.  In just a few months, FirstNet and AT&T will have a clear line of sight to deliver the only technology platform built for those whose job it is to keep our communities safe and secure:  the brave men and women of public safety.  This is an exciting time for everyone involved in setting the course for the only network dedicated to public safety.

The governor’s decision is a vital next step and one of the final gates for launching the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (“Network”).  Last month, FirstNet provided notification to the states and Washington, D.C, starting the 90-day clock for the governor’s decision, ending Dec. 28, 2017.  We have also delivered plans to the territories for their review and consideration. In fact, our consultation and planning teams met with the three Southern Pacific territories this week to support their decision-making process.

Consultation and outreach – central to FirstNet’s approach

Engaging with our stakeholders has and always will be central to everything we do at FirstNet.  Our longstanding consultation and outreach program sets us apart from other organizations, companies, and entities that work with or do business with public safety. 

Since delivering the State Plans, the FirstNet team has made itself available around the clock to answer questions, help clarify any misunderstandings states or territories may have, and address some of the misinformation about both the decision process and the State Plans themselves. 

Given where we are today in the process – with 27 states and territories having opted in and two months still remaining for the others to make their decision – FirstNet is coordinating with the states and territories to ensure they have all the information they need to make the best decision for their public safety professionals and the residents who rely on them.   We are also actively consulting with public safety agencies in opt-in states to implement their plans.

Providing the information states/territories need

FirstNet is working closely with the states and territories through their single points of contact and governors’ offices to help them understand the many inputs and details they must factor into their decision-making process.  In many cases, our efforts have addressed the mechanisms and risks associated with a governor’s decision to “opt-out” and have the state build, operate, maintain, and improve the Radio Access Network (RAN) portion of the Network, including the Spectrum Manager Lease Agreement (SMLA) between FirstNet and an opt-out state or territory.

As always, we welcome the opportunity to discuss these and other issues with states and territories now and throughout the process.  To provide an additional, reliable information source, FirstNet will be highlighting common questions, with our responses, on our new “FirstNet Facts” page.  We will update this page regularly as state/territory and public safety questions come in.  Please take a look at www.firstnet.gov/facts and share your feedback with the FirstNet team.

Supporting those who support public safety

We’ll continue to make ourselves available to ensure states and territories have what they need to determine the best network solution for public safety and the communities they serve, because that’s what this decision is all about: Providing public safety the lifesaving communication tools it needs – now and into the future.

Thanks - Mike

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