Signed into law on February 22, 2012, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 ("the Act") created the FirstNet Authority
, an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The Act requires FirstNet to establish a nationwide, interoperable public safety wireless broadband network to provide a single platform for daily public safety communications use, as well as emergency and crisis public safety communications on a local, state/territory, tribal, and federal level.
To cost effectively bring this network to public safety for daily use, FirstNet sought out a public-private partnership that met 16 critical objectives, as outlined and documented in the Request for Proposals (RFP). This approach invited innovation and competition from industry to deliver a business model on FirstNet's goal of sustainability.
Through the RFP process, FirstNet evaluated each offeror's ability to meet FirstNet's objectives. AT&T not only met all the objectives, but also proposed the best value proposition for providing FirstNet services to public safety. FirstNet awarded a 25-year contract to AT&T in 2017, forming a unique public-private partnership that brings a telecommunications provider with more than 140 years of experience to first responders. This partnership provides nationwide coverage, competitive pricing for public safety, priority and preemption for primary users, standards based mission-critical services, consumer-driven economies of scale, and the rapid evolution of advanced communication capabilities. Working together, the FirstNet partnership provides the life-saving network public safety has needed for years.
The FirstNet Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that Michigan first responders face. The federal agency has been working closely with Michigan 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, the FirstNet Authority team worked hand-in-hand with Michigan leaders to ensure the plan was customized to address their needs, including:
- Expanding coverage in rural and tribal areas and along Michigan's waterways and shorelines
- Helping address communications challenges along the state's border with Canada, including key ports and border crossings
Following this close collaboration, Michigan chose to adopt the plan and "opt in" to FirstNet. Today, FirstNet Authority continues to meet regularly with state and local officials to discuss their public safety broadband needs. Engagements and continued collaboration with the FirstNet Authority is crucial to the ongoing success of the network and the advancement of public safety communications across the state and the nation.
Your input can make a direct impact on the current and future system.
FirstNet Authority's representative for Michigan is Kyle S. Richardson. Kyle has been with the federal agency since 2014, with the majority of that time at the First Authority's headquarters in Reston, VA. Today, Kyle partners with public safety agencies across disciplines and jurisdictional levels in MI, along with IL, MN and OH, as they seek to operationalize public safety broadband communications.
FirstNet Authority values your feedback - and this 25-year partnership includes $18 billion that the legislation identified as reinvestment funds. if you have the time, please visit the link below for a quick survey, with some questions that will shape the future of the network around Coverage and Capacity, Situational Awareness, User Experience, Voice Communications, and Secure Information Exchange. You are invited to answer questions about one, two, or all six domains depending on your availability.