WASHINGTON – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today delivered an initial consultation package to all 56 states and territories. FirstNet officials said delivery of the consultation package – which includes both guidance and a readiness checklist – aims to increase FirstNet’s understanding of the states’ unique needs in the development of state plans.
“The release of the initial consultation package is an important next step in our coordination and planning work with the states, as well as implementing FirstNet’s program roadmap,” said TJ Kennedy, FirstNet Deputy General Manager. “Each state plan will be developed through an iterative process, and this package will ensure a strong foundation as we begin consultations with each state and territory so we can hit the ground running.”
The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires that FirstNet consult with regional, state, and local jurisdictions in developing requests for proposals and otherwise carrying out its responsibilities. Over the last year, FirstNet has worked with the state single points of contact, legislators, public safety and industry leaders, and other stakeholders to establish the mechanisms and relationships necessary to ensure effective consultation with each state and territory.
FirstNet delivered the consultation package to each state and territory’s single point of contact today, highlighting steps that need to be taken to prepare for their formal consultation meetings. “The key is to deliver a plan to the governor that is not only inclusive of the state’s specific needs and desires, but also one that the governor is eager to sign,” Kennedy said.
In a letter to the states and territories introducing the package, David Buchanan, FirstNet’s Director of State Consultation, explained that the next formal steps of consultation will begin once the states have completed their checklists and scheduled meetings with FirstNet. “We are enthusiastic and prepared to begin in-person consultations with each state and territory.” Buchanan said. “Through a highly collaborative process, we will engage each state and territory to understand and support the needs of their public safety communities, develop state plans, and deploy an operational broadband network.”
FirstNet will provide emergency responders with the first high-speed, nationwide network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet is designed to improve communication among local, state, regional, tribal and national emergency services personnel. The broadband data network will help save lives and protect the health and safety of all Americans. It will be built using LTE, the most advanced wireless technology available today. FirstNet fulfills a fundamental need of the public safety community for a single, mission-critical communications system enabling force multiplier effectiveness. Overseen by representatives of public safety, government and the wireless industry, FirstNet is an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (www.firstnet.gov).