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A FirstNet tower

The Network

FirstNet was created to be a force-multiplier for first responders — to give public safety the 21st century communication tools they need to help save lives and keep our communities safe. To realize that vision, the FirstNet Authority is directing the deployment of a high-speed network using public safety’s Band 14 spectrum. Built on commercial standards, the FirstNet network is resilient, interoperable, and able to provide optimal levels of operational capability during emergencies.

The network operates in all U.S. states, territories, and Washington, D.C., transforming emergency communications nationwide. FirstNet delivers the benefits of lower costs, consumer-driven economies of scale, and advanced communication capabilities to public safety personnel.

Public safety’s vision

The 9/11 terrorist attacks brought to the forefront the many communications challenges that first responders face during emergencies and disasters. These issues were captured in the 9/11 Commission Report, which identified gaps in emergency communications and recommended a nationwide network for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical personnel communications. The public safety community united to fulfill the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation. Their vision and advocacy efforts led to the passage of legislation in 2012 to create a dedicated, reliable wireless network for first responders in all U.S. states and territories, including rural communities and tribal nations.

Built for public safety, by public safety

Public safety officials have worked closely with the FirstNet Authority since its inception to ensure the network meets first responders’ needs — today and in the future. Through ongoing outreach and consultation efforts, the FirstNet Authority has connected with first responders and state public safety and technology executives across the country, in every state, territory, and the District of Columbia. The FirstNet Authority also coordinates with public safety through the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), which provides guidance and subject matter expertise from a first responder perspective.

A dedicated, communications “fast lane” for public safety

The FirstNet network is helping connect first responders during major emergencies and at large events by providing a “fast lane” for their highly secure communications. FirstNet delivers specialized features to public safety that are not available on most commercial wireless networks today, such as priority access, preemption, more network capacity, and a resilient, hardened connection.

Helping public safety save lives

FirstNet is improving communications for first responders in rural and urban areas, leading to safer, more secure communities. With FirstNet, public safety can take advantage of advanced technologies, tools, and services during emergencies, such as:

  • Applications that allow first responders to share videos, text messages, photos and other information in near real-time
  • Devices configured to meet the focused needs of public safety
  • Improved location services to help with mapping capabilities during rescue and recovery operations
  • Deployables available for planned and unplanned emergency events

The FirstNet Authority oversees the testing and validation of the network and related products and services, ensuring first responders have the proven tools they need in disasters and emergencies. Through our Boulder FirstNet Lab in Colorado, we are testing capabilities unique to public safety and exploring innovative technologies for their future communications needs.