FirstNet Oversight: An Update on the Status of the Public Safety Broadband Network (Paperback)
The First Responder Network Authority, also known as FirstNet, was established under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It is intended to address communication failures that slowed recovery efforts during major national emergencies, including the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. States like Mississippi know firsthand the consequences of communications network breakdown. FEMA, Red Cross, and others were hindered from providing the emergency recovery services needed during and after Katrina. The 2012 Act allocated $7 billion from spectrum auction proceeds for the purpose of building and operating a nationwide public safety broadband network. The spectrum auction raised the $7 billion needed to begin the planning and development stage. Although FirstNet has made progress, questions linger about the future viability of the network. FirstNet is committed to providing rural communities with the same services as larger urban cities, but rural and remote coverage remains a major concern. Each region of the country faces a unique set of challenges, and addressing these challenges is critical to achieving nationwide deployment of FirstNet.