The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent organization within the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Created by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, FirstNet is charged with building and maintaining a dedicated public safety broadband network that will resolve communications challenges faced by emergency responders, as recommended by the 911 Commission.
Built on a single reliable and interoperable platform, the network
will provide first responders with mission-critical, high-speed data
services (location information, images, video and maps) to
supplement the voice capabilities of land mobile radio (LMR)
networks. Utilizing the most advanced long-term evolution (LTE)
wireless technology as well as existing infrastructure when
possible, the network will support faster, better-coordinated
emergency response across local jurisdictions; state, territory and
tribal lines; and US borders.
Following an estimated 10-year buildout, the network will potentially connect over 5 million public safety users nationwide. Although use of the network will be voluntary, FirstNet plans to offer subscriptions at a compelling, competitive cost, establishing the network as self-sustaining.
To launch the program, FirstNet has awarded $135 million in funding to states through the State and Local Implementation Program (SLIGP), $1.04 million of which has be awarded to Maine. These initial grants are to be used to determine state network coverage and user requirements, and to develop a state network plan based on these requirements. During this state, FirstNet collaborates with each to create a plan that ensures the state proposed network meets national public safety standards, and submits the final plan to the state governor for the pivotal opt-in opt-out decision. Once planning is completed nationwide, FirstNet will move forward with implementation (expected by mid-2018).
The FirstNetME team has formed under the leadership of David Maxwell, FirstNet State Point of Contact for Maine and Associate Executive Director of the ConnectME Authority, and the guidance of the Maine Interoperable Communications Committee (MICC). With $1.04 million in initial federal funding from the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP), the team is collaborating with FirstNet and the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to develop a state network plan based on the needs and requirements of the Maine first responder community.
FirstNet's consultation and outreach team worked closely with each State, territory, and Washington D.C., to develop and deliver a Radio Access Network (RAN) deployment plan that meets the specific needs of their public safety communities. In 2017, FirstNet provided the Governor of each State and territory with the details of the proposed plan; a notice of the completion of the request for proposal process; and the funding level for the state or territory. Upon receipt of the plan, each Governor had 90 days to choose whether to participate in the plan provided by FirstNet or conduct its own deployment of the RAN. Today, every State, territory, and Washington D.C. has accepted the FirstNet deployment plan and "opted in" to the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.Governor Paul LePage moved to transform first responder communications for Maine's public safety community. Maine wthe 11th state or territory to "opt-in" to the FirstNet network. With tdeision FirstNet and AT&T will deliver a specialized wireless broadband network to Maine's first responders and bring advanced technologies that will help them save lives and protect communities.