On February 22, 2012, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act was signed into law. As part of that bill, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce was directed to create the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent entity within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FirstNet was given the mission to "take all actions necessary to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide public safety broadband network [NPSBN],” which “shall be based on a single, national network architecture."
A Broad band working group comprised of public safety practitioners and technologists was formed under the leadership of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC). The group recently completed work on the initial Statement of Requirements document for the NPSBN. The document was approved by the NPSTC and presented to the FirstNet board on December 12th, 2012.
APCO was a driving force behind the legislation and the overall initiative from the onset. In addition, APCO has been represented on both the NPSTC Broadband Working Group, and the Public Safety Review Team in creating, reviewing and refining the requirements and document.