WASHINGTON – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced today that the first in a summer-long series of consultations with states, tribes, territories and localities will take place May 15-16 in the Washington, D.C area. FirstNet will conduct regional workshops in six regions and will also meet with each state individually during the consultation process.
This portion of FirstNet’s outreach is designed to solicit input from attendees to help in the design of a public safety-grade next-generation wireless network that meets the specific communications requirements of police, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel in their respective jurisdictions.
“Our goal is to deliver high-speed data services to millions of public safety users to help them save more lives, solve crimes faster and keep our communities safer,” said Bill D’Agostino, General Manager of FirstNet. “Consultations are an essential step in building working relationships between FirstNet and the thousands of people who are stakeholders in its success. These meetings will provide valuable opportunities to listen and work collaboratively to build the first public safety-grade LTE network.”
The first regional workshop will be a two-day program beginning with a discussion of the changing nature of public safety since 9/11 and the need for placing next-generation technologies into the hands of first responders. It continues with an update on FirstNet progress, an interactive session on network development and multiple facilitated discussions between participants and FirstNet. Also scheduled are breakout sessions for stakeholders, discussions between registrants and FirstNet, breakouts on specific challenges of implementing the public-safety broadband network and group peer-to-peer exchanges.
“Local matters,” said Jeffrey Johnson, retired fire chief and FirstNet board member who manages the stakeholder outreach process. “We need to hear from people on the ground about their coverage and capacity needs, as well as the wireless assets and infrastructure they could bring to the table. Their input will be an invaluable part of our early analysis into the design of a network.”
The same law that established FirstNet also created the State and Local Government Implementation Program (SLIGP) administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). SLIGP grants can be used to cover the travel costs for state, tribal, territorial and local government participation in the consultations. Invitations have been sent for the initial workshop.
Schedule of Upcoming Regional Workshops by Geographical Area
(Boundaries of the six workshops were drawn only for logistics and travel purposes and do not imply any permanent regional breakdown for FirstNet or the NTIA SLIGP):
May 15-16 Washington, D.C. Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia
May 21-22 Denver, Colo. Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
May 29-30 San Francisco, Calif. Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, North Mariana Islands, Oregon, Washington
June 12-13 St. Louis, Mo. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin
June 19-20 Boston, Mass. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
June 26-27 Memphis, Tenn. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas
The FirstNet workshops have been organized in partnership with the National Governors Association non-profit Center for Best Practices. Planning and programming for the regional workshops and state meetings has been in process for months with valuable information provided by NTIA, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications, which shared expertise from its grassroots Statewide Interoperability Coordinator workshops.
“Developing FirstNet will take an extraordinary level of coordination and collaboration with every jurisdiction,” said Johnson. “We look forward to an open, productive dialogue at the consultations, inspired by a shared commitment to our first responder community and the safety of everyone in our nation.”
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 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).