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First responders across the country put their lives on the line to keep Americans safe. Our nation’s public safety community is at the heart of the FirstNet Authority’s mission. On October 28, we recognize their sacrifices and contributions on National First Responders Day.
During September, we remember the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks and recognize National Preparedness Month. These events serve as poignant reminders that emergencies can happen at any time, and it is critical for first responders to be prepared. The FirstNet Authority is working to strengthen emergency preparedness through ensuring the men and women of public safety can communicate when and where disaster strikes.
First Responder Network Authority plans for future development of FirstNet, including coverage extension efforts
As AT&T reaches near completion of its initial Band 14 infrastructure buildout, the FirstNet Authority turns its focus to solutions that will let public-safety users access the nationwide public-safety broadband network when outside of terrestrial system.
The First Responder Network Authority Board approved a $358 million budget package to fund the agency’s operations and potential network investments in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). Meeting in Los Angeles, the Board allocated the majority of the FY23 budget for enhancements and upgrades to FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) frequently collaborates with the First Responder Network Authority to advance public safety communications. Whether partnering on prize challenges, standards development, R&D testing, or the Public Safety Immersive Test Center, the two organizations are working together to spur technology development for first responders.
The FirstNet Authority Board approved an investment to expand services for network coverage via small-cell technologies. The investment aims to increase FirstNet coverage where public safety agencies operate indoors, such as police headquarters, fire stations, Emergency Communication Centers, and other critical sites and field locations.
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.
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’ 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.
FirstNet Authority Board Approves FY22 Budget for Operations, Investment into Public Safety’s Network
During its third quarterly meeting of 2021, the FirstNet Authority Board approved a $253 million budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), with a focus on overseeing deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network, supporting public safety engagement on their communications priorities, and directing investments in the network based on public safety’s feedback.