FirstNet First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Across the country, millions of law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other public safety personnel bravely serve their communities every day. They answer the call when emergencies strike and risk their lives to secure and protect others. FirstNet is developing the first nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) to provide our first responders access to the new technologies and increased data capacity they need to help them do their jobs safely and effectively. Just as smartphones have created a new era of access to real-time information for individuals, the FirstNet network will enable access to the real-time information the public safety community needs to save lives. The NPSBN will carry high-speed data, location information, images, and video that can mean all the difference when seconds count.

Emergencies don’t just happen where commercial data networks are available, and reaching our rural communities is one of FirstNet’s top priorities. When life-threatening emergencies happen in remote or wilderness areas, public safety will benefit from having a network connection that enables medical support to share data directly with the hospital during transport, or that provides access to maps, changing weather elements, personnel and resource management, and improved situational awareness to responders in the field.

But emergencies aren’t the only time when public safety needs network capacity to communicate and send data.  Planned events such as concerts, festivals, and sporting venues draw a high number of people to a single location causing commercial networks to become congested and making it difficult for first responders to access critical information.

During both emergencies and planned events, public safety needs to be able to communicate without interruption – lives depend on it. That’s why FirstNet network is designed to deliver applications, devices, and services tailored to the needs of public safety. It will be a resilient, reliable network, with public safety-grade quality of service, enabling everything from smartphones to laptops, tablets, and specialty devices to work where and when public safety needs them most.


Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created FirstNet as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), governed by a 15 – member Board composed of representatives from public safety.  The law gives FirstNet the duty to build, operate and maintain the first high-speed, wireless, nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).  20 MHz of bandwidth in the upper 700MHz frequency range has been dedicated to build the NPSBN, that’s the equivalent of some commercial carrier’s nationwide capacity.