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FirstNet Moves Public Safety to the "Access Diamond Lane"

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: July/August 2017 Pages: 3-5
Date Published
August 2017
3 pages
This article announces the launching and developmental plan for FirstNet, the first nationwide public safety broadband network, which will enable emergency response agencies to communicate with one another in joint operations.
On March 30. 2017, the First Responder Network Authority formally announced that AT&T had received an award to begin building FirstNet. Although it will take several years before all of the new infrastructure and features are in place, the concept becomes operational this fall (2017) through use of AT&T's existing spectrum and infrastructure. State implementation plans were sent out in mid-June; and by October, those plans will have been reviewed and potentially accepted by the States. At that time, the new era in public safety communications will begin. FirstNet is a project of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration. FirstNet will provide public safety agencies and personnel with advanced communication and collaboration technologies that will provide solutions for serving rural and under-served areas; reliability, redundancy, and resiliency in communications; and access for a wide range of devices, including video, audio, still photography, maps, and more. In assessing FirstNet capabilities, a law enforcement veteran on the FirstNet team as its senior law enforcement advisor said, "We will always be in the diamond lane of data access. We won't be watching spin-spin-spin while we wait for a download because there's not enough capacity. In time of public safety need, it's the others who will be bumped off, and all of that comes on day one. When a State decides to opt in, they'll gain immediate access to the existing AT&T network."

Date Published: August 1, 2017