By Edward Parkinson, Director of Government Affairs
Last week marked the fourth anniversary of the passage of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act). With this legislation, Congress entrusted FirstNet with the important mission of ensuring the building, deployment and operation of the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.
To guide our path forward on this mission, the FirstNet Board approved a Strategic Program Roadmap with objectives and forward-looking milestones, including key timelines and dates. This effort informed Congress, public safety entities, and the private sector of our goals and timeline targets for achievement.
I am pleased to report that FirstNet has achieved its major Roadmap milestones and more in Fiscal Year 2015. The organization’s accomplishments are summarized in our recently delivered Annual Report to Congress for FY2015.
As the Annual Report shows, FirstNet has built its program on thousands of data points from public safety entities, states, and territories, as well as from industry. In fact, FirstNet conducted outreach to more than 45,000 public safety and private partners in FY2015 alone, including:
- 55 state and territory initial consultations completed, with almost 4,000 first responders attending in person;
- 54 state and territory and 7 Federal agency inputs on data collection from over 11,600 Public Safety Entities representing 1.6 million personnel; and
- More than 300 stakeholder engagements.
In addition, FirstNet published a Special Notice with draft Request for Proposals (RFP) documents to provide stakeholders with opportunities to participate in the process and submit questions and comments. We used the stakeholder feedback and data points to develop the final RFP, which was released in January 2016 and wrapped up a key phase of the Roadmap.
Moving forward, FirstNet is focused on executing the third phase of the Strategic Program Roadmap, which includes continued Federal, state, local and tribal consultation, as well as the development of the state planning process. We also look forward to receiving proposals from potential partners and the final award of a contract for the National Public Safety Broadband Network.
With each of these steps, FirstNet moves closer to deploying the dedicated broadband network. We look forward to all of the hard work and the progress this next year will bring.
To read FirstNet’s Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2015, click here and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.