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Idaho contains a diverse landscape that includes vast mountain ranges, rivers, and farmland. The state is home to five tribal nations and shares a border with Canada. With 71% of the state being federally owned lands, Idaho first responders who contend with seasonal wildfires face serious challenges. The 2015 Soda Fire that burned over 256,000 acres across the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest was an extreme example of the fire season challenges those in the state face. Idaho’s first responders need access to modern tools and technologies to battle these natural disasters as well as support large, local events like the Caldwell Night Rodeo, which attracts more than 40,000 participants each year.

The First Responder Network Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that Idaho first responders face. We have been working closely with Idaho public safety officials since 2014, capturing their feedback and translating it into the design of the FirstNet network. During the development of state deployment plans, our team worked hand-in-hand with Idaho leaders to ensure the plan was customized to address their needs, including:

  • Expanding rural coverage, particularly outside of the Boise area and on tribal lands
  • Providing Idaho's public safety volunteers with “Bring Your Own Device” solutions
  • Expediting deployment to improve the availability of LTE services throughout the state
  • Implementing FirstNet customer care and support to recognize the unique needs of first responders

Following this close collaboration, Idaho chose to adopt the plan and “opt in” to FirstNet. Today, we continue to meet regularly with state, local, and tribal officials to discuss their public safety broadband needs. Our engagements in Idaho included presenting to the Idaho Public Safety Communications Committee on the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, attending the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association Fall Conference, meeting with the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, conducting a tribal consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe, and supporting an outdoor country music concert with 70,000 attendees. Engagements like these are crucial to the ongoing success of the network and the advancement of public safety communications across the state and the nation.

Connect with our team of Public Safety Advisors to learn about FirstNet in your community.


Idaho's FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor

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Advanced communications are critical to first responder safety and help make us more efficient and effective when we respond to calls for assistance from our communities in their times of need. FirstNet will deliver that advanced communications capability every day. Natural disasters know no boundaries. With FirstNet, we can be nimble and adaptable thanks to interoperable communications tools that will give us improved information, coordination and collaboration in emergencies.
Chief David Gates
Pocatello Fire Departmen

FirstNet in Action in Idaho

  • First responders’ inability to communicate after the 9/11 attacks underscored significant public safety communication shortfalls nationwide – including on tribal lands. The FirstNet Authority is working to bring FirstNet’s unique capabilities to tribal communities that are historically prone to communication challenges.