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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.
The FirstNet Authority continuously works with public safety across the country to evolve the FirstNet network. One of the key capabilities that public safety requested during the planning phase of FirstNet was the ability to determine the Z-axis, or vertical axis, location of personnel. This service is now available in a growing number of areas on the FirstNet network for the nation’s first responders.
The Wilmington Police Department in Delaware serves the state’s largest city. Recognizing the need for more efficient and effective aerial video capabilities, the agency invested in unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in 2014. The agency relies on FirstNet to stream video footage from the drones back to the ground in real time, providing responders with critical information to make in-the-moment decisions.
When the computers in their patrol cars began slowing down, officers with the Milford Police Department in Delaware were unable to access databases and reporting software. After switching to FirstNet, the department has a reliable connection, enabling officers to use mission critical capabilities and to seamlessly upload video from dashcams and body-worn cameras.
With the help of FirstNet-enabled “Go-Kits,” responders in Harris County, Texas, were able to expand mobile testing and vaccination throughout the county. Broadband modems ensured healthcare providers had access to a reliable, uninterrupted internet connection.
The Milford Police Department in Delaware uses hundreds of gigabytes of data each month, uploading dash and body-worn camera footage and using ticket and reporting software provided by the state. FirstNet’s reliable, dedicated connection and priority and preemption features ensure officers can communicate, share data, and stay connected to data capabilities in the field.
CEO Edward Parkinson reflects on how the First Authority is keeping public safety’s unique communication needs at the forefront of technology as it delivers the only interoperable communications network that public safety asked for and needs for its mission. As public safety’s communications needs advance, the FirstNet Authority will ensure the network continues to grow and evolve in the future.
Harris County, Texas, was one of the early adopters of FirstNet. As the nation’s third most populous county, first responders in the area need to be prepared for any event. The Harris County Radio Services Organization operates the regional radio system for public safety in Harris County, and FirstNet is allowing them augment that radio system in remote areas and in times of heavy network congestion.
The Makah Tribe has called the Pacific Northwest home for thousands of years. With over 1,100 square miles of land and sea to patrol and the looming threat of tsunamis, reliable communications are crucial for the tribe’s first responders. Like many tribes across Indian Country, the Makah Tribe is looking to FirstNet to help solve their communication challenges.