First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)
One of the most dynamic expansions of wireless infrastructure on the forefront today is occurring in the public safety sector. The program is called FirstNet.1 It is an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)2 whose mission is to provide law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency service first responders with a nationwide, high-speed, broadband network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet was created by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Section 6204. The goal of FirstNet is to build and connect public safety wireless infrastructure nationwide by 2022.
The program suffered early bureaucratic setbacks but now is on track. A private-public partnership has been established to deploy the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). “We now have the people, the processes, and the infrastructure in place to ensure a successful public-private partnership to deploy the Network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “As an advocate and steward for public safety, it will be our job to ensure the Network meets their needs and objectives. FirstNet stands ready for this awesome responsibility.”3 On March 28, 2017, the FirstNet board of directors authorized Mike Poth, its Chief Executive Officer, to proceed to award the contract to procure the NPSBN.4 On March 30, 2017, FirstNet formally announced its partnership with AT&T to build the NPSBN.5 Every state has vast areas that will require the development of new structures for wireless facilities, elevating the need for qualified professional wireless site acquisition and permitting services nationwide.