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This year marks the tenth anniversary of the legislation that created the FirstNet Authority. From our earliest days, the FirstNet Authority has collaborated with tribal leadership and organizations to better understand the needs of responders in Indian Country. We are working to expand broadband coverage into tribal communities that have historically lacked access to reliable communication services and offering advanced technologies to keep them connected.
Bringing broadband to Tribal responders has always been a priority for the FirstNet Authority. When Board members visited the Navajo Nation – which spans Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah – they learned how deployables and expanded coverage are bringing interoperability to the tribe’s emergency communications. FirstNet has played an important role during major events like the pandemic response and a visit from the First Lady of the United States.
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.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) represents American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal governments and promotes the broad interests of Tribes and their citizens. NCAI has been an important member of the Public Safety Advisory Committee, providing input on the unique communications challenges Tribal first responders face.
In 2021, the FirstNet Authority delivered its first investments in public safety’s network to help drive a differentiated, dedicated, and enduring network to support first responders. In 2022, the FirstNet Authority will continue to advance public safety communications through close engagement with first responders and expansions in 5G and mission-critical solutions.
First responders bravely and selflessly protect and serve our communities every day. On National First Responders Day, we take time to celebrate and honor their dedication. The FirstNet Authority is proud to serve the men and women of public safety with innovative solutions that can make their jobs easier, more efficient, and safer.
Paramedics with Bangs Ambulance in New York experienced cellular service dead zones throughout the rural Finger Lakes region. With FirstNet, the agency is taking advantage of capabilities like high-power user equipment, ensuring personnel have more reliable connectivity to send vital information to local hospitals.
Nine years after the passage of the legislation that created FirstNet, retired Police Chief Harlin McEwen reflects on the evolution of FirstNet and how the network is benefiting first responders today. Harlin also talks about the future of FirstNet and how new technologies, such as high-powered user equipment and Z-axis features, are “game changers” for public safety.
Every year, the FirstNet Authority provides a report to Congress outlining the activities, operations, financial condition, and accomplishments from the previous fiscal year. Tom Shull, FirstNet Authority Director of Legislative Affairs, provides an overview of the FirstNet Authority’s Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2020.