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Headshots of Todd Early and Jonathan Olson; sheriff’s deputy using a laptop inside of a parked patrol car

PSAC takes stock of FirstNet momentum during annual business meeting, announces new interim PSAC Chair

August 31, 2021

On August 26, the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) held a business meeting to report on committee operations, progress of recent working groups, and FirstNet’s most recent accomplishments and activities.

Welcome and Leadership Update

PSAC Chair Todd Early welcomed members with remarks that focused on his retirement from the PSAC and his appreciation for the work and expertise the PSAC provides to the FirstNet Authority.

FirstNet Authority Board Chair Tip Osterthaler and CEO Ed Parkinson announced that longtime PSAC and Executive Committee member Jonathan Olson, representing the National EMS Management Association, would serve as interim PSAC Chair, effective upon Todd’s retirement. Tip and Ed also took this opportunity to thank Todd for his leadership, guidance, and commitment to grow the FirstNet network during the years he served on the PSAC, including the three years serving as its Chair.

“I want to publicly thank Todd for all the work that he has done for the success of the program,” said Osterthaler. “You leave important public safety programs in good shape thanks to all the work that you put into this. Thank you on behalf of all the board members.”

PSAC Strike Teams and Working Group Update

  • The Identity, Credentialing, and Access Management (ICAM) Strike Team remains focused on its work to promote the safe exchange of critical and sensitive information over FirstNet. After conducting multiple surveys on public safety application use, the ICAM Strike Team is preparing to submit its final report to the FirstNet Authority in the near future.
  • The Telehealth Strike Team distributed the PSAC telehealth survey to stakeholders to better understand EMS telehealth use nationwide. The Telehealth Strike Team plans to use the survey results for further insights into future telehealth use and to support additional innovation for the FirstNet network.
  • The Users Working Group continues to examine topics of interest related to the FirstNet Authority Roadmap. Most recently, members discussed how to optimize the FirstNet user experience via public safety devices to help first responders remain focused on their missions. The working group will continue to engage the FirstNet Authority to provide feedback and expertise on various technologies of interest to public safety and the FirstNet network. 

FirstNet Authority Strategic Plan Update

The FirstNet Authority continues to update the current Fiscal Year 2018 – Fiscal Year 2022 Strategic Plan. As part of the update process, the PSAC has made significant contributions to informing updates based on the committee’s areas of interest and expertise. The FirstNet Authority will benefit from the committee’s experience as it works to execute the organization’s strategic priorities. We look forward to our continued partnership with the PSAC to advance the FirstNet experience for public safety.

AT&T Leadership Update

AT&T‘s Jason Porter delivered AT&T’s Leadership Update, emphasizing FirstNet’s adoption trends, coverage enhancements, and continued plans to build on the network’s momentum.

FirstNet Adoption. In the last year, FirstNet is being used in almost every type of incident response, including wildfires, floods, and tornadoes. Recent adoption trends show that as FirstNet continues to modernize and offer more unique services, an increasingly diverse user group in industries related to artificial intelligence, aviation, energy, and home health care services are turning to FirstNet to meet their emergency communication needs.

Compact Rapid Deployables (CRDs). Recently, AT&T introduced CRDs as another on-demand coverage option for FirstNet to help first responders communicate through recovery and response missions. These trailered, self-contained mobile units with satellite uplinks are revolutionizing the way public safety agencies connect to FirstNet. For the first time, incident commanders and first responders wield tremendous flexibility to deploy CRDs whenever and wherever the incident is located – without the need to contact AT&T.

9/11 Remembrance. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, AT&T is planning a series of events to commemorate the first responders and the sacrifices they made on that fateful day.  For more information, please visit AT&T’s FirstNet website.

Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) Update

In June, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s PSCR held its annual stakeholder meeting, PSCR 2021 - The Digital Experience. The virtual conference brought together a broad audience from public safety, academia, government, and industry professionals to explore the latest in public communications research. FirstNet Authority Board Member Paul Patrick’s keynote address detailed how the pandemic impacted public safety operations. PSCR recently scheduled its 2022 Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting for June 2022 in San Diego.

PSCR continues to drive innovation and advance public safety communication technologies through several challenge opportunities, including the: 2020 CHARIoT Challenge, 2021 First Responder Unmanned Aircraft System Triple Challenge, Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program (PSIAP) – Public Safety Radio Data, and PSIAP – Artificial Intelligence for IoT Information.

Outgoing PSAC Board Members

In addition to Todd Early’s retirement, long-time FirstNet-advocate and former FirstNet Authority Board member Kevin McGinnis will also be retiring from the PSAC at the end of August. On behalf of the PSAC and the FirstNet Authority, we thank both Todd and Kevin for their time and effort dedicated to FirstNet’s growth and the valuable contributions made serving on this committee. 

Thank you to all participants and attendees. To learn more about the PSAC, visit


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