Today marks the one-year anniversary of enactment of landmark legislation that created FirstNet and will lead to the deployment of an advanced, nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network. From the printed words of the law, we are witnessing tangible evidence of what public safety successfully fought for, including a dedicated FirstNet board, armed with spectrum and funding resources and a commitment to achieving success. Additionally, the board has created an esteemed body of state and local public safety and government professionals composing FirstNet’s public safety advisory committee (PSAC). NTIA launched the state and local implementation grant program so critical to the consultation process with the FirstNet board.
What will this next year bring?
- The wisdom of the state and local implementation grant program will become evident as it progresses.
- The PSAC will become a highly valuable resource to FirstNet.
- FirstNet will add to its staff and expand its outreach to all stakeholders.
- The national network architecture Congress tasked FirstNet with developing will begin to take shape.
What else should we be expecting?
- Potential technological advancements in network equipment, services, devices, apps, and antennas.
- Progress at international standards-setting bodies for public safety specific features.
- Cyber security awareness.
Much of the first year necessarily involved downtime. The FirstNet board wasn’t announced (pursuant to the legislation) until August 20th. The first order of business had to include a number of organizational matters. Further, the state and local implementation grant program criteria depended on the timing of FirstNet’s organization. Yet we have witnessed appreciable progress. With the state and local consultation process in progress, and the PSAC in place to further assist with advising the FirstNet Board regarding the public safety perspective, all signs point to much more progress to come.