Located in the northern area between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin experiences year-round weather challenges that often complicate communications for first responders. Wisconsin’s first responders also require seamless, interoperable communications during Green Bay Packer football games, on the state’s 11 federally recognized tribal lands, and along the 820 miles of coastlines along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.  

The First Responder Network Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that Wisconsin first responders face. We have been working closely with Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin leaders to ensure the plan was customized to address their needs, including:  

  • Expanding wireless coverage in rural, tribal, and underserved areas 
  • Enabling state, local, and federal agencies to effectively communicate and coordinate along Wisconsin’s borders  
  • Increasing capacity during emergencies and natural disasters through the use of deployable network assets 
  • Using existing state infrastructure where necessary and appropriate 

Following this close collaboration, Wisconsin chose to adopt the plan and “opt in” to FirstNet. Today, we continue to meet regularly with state and local officials to discuss their public safety broadband needs. In 2019 alone, our team met with Wisconsin public safety officials more than 25 times. Our engagements in Wisconsin included the Wisconsin EMS Association Annual Expo, a tower groundbreaking with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and planning meetings for the Democratic National Convention. 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.  

This is a great day for first responders across Wisconsin and the residents they serve. By joining the FirstNet network, the Governor has opened the door to enhanced technology that will improve emergency services and response times. From Pleasant Prairie to Cassville and Kewaunee to Webster, this service will help public safety better serve our citizens.


Sheriff Matt JoskiKewaunee County

FirstNet Authority
Public Safety Advisor
Jonathan Olson