Guest blog post by TJ Kennedy, FirstNet Acting Executive Director
Partnerships. Plans. People. These are the essential components for success in both public and private sector organizations. At the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), we realize this, and continue to focus on these key areas as part of our mission to ensure the deployment of a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).
The Partnerships. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 established FirstNet and directed it to consult with various individuals, jurisdictions, and entities – including federal, state, tribal and local public safety entities – to ensure the building of the NPSBN. Congress wisely recognized that this monumental undertaking requires the input of and coordination with our future stakeholders and users of the network –our nation’s firefighters, EMS providers, law enforcement officers, and other public safety personnel.
FirstNet has implemented a number of mechanisms to ensure that we are working with the public safety community and getting its feedback on the network. One such effort includes the leveraging of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) to engage in a dialogue with its membership on important network planning and deployment issues. FirstNet will focus this year on working with the PSAC in four key areas – early builder lessons learned, tribal engagement strategies, priority and pre-emption, and public safety-grade service.
The state consultation process is another major achievement with regard to partnering with the public safety community. Last year, our consultation staff worked closely with public safety officials in eight states and Puerto Rico, gathering crucial information we intend to use in the deployment of our services to public safety. The consultation process is being coordinated through the state-designated single points of contact to ensure that FirstNet obtains key information from regional, state, tribal and local jurisdictions in all 56 states and territories and understands their unique requirements for the network.