Revolutionary First Responder Network Moves Closer to Reality

ARTICLE | Apr 3, 2017

The Department of Commerce has announced a 25-year, public private partnership between AT&T and FirstNet to build a nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to first responders. This high-speed network will be deployed for public safety users in all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.


“This technology is going to revolutionize how we provide public safety services,” observed Mark Ryckman, city manager, Corning, New York, and ICMA’s representative on the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). “City and county managers can help lead the way as we learn how to take full advantage of this nationwide broadband network.”


Ryckman explained that FirstNet uses LTE technology that will allow firefighters to access floor plans at the scene of a fire. Law enforcement will be able to stream live video directly to patrol units and EMTs will be able to send vital medical information from an ambulance directly to awaiting emergency room personnel. 


The Middle Class Tax Relief Act required FirstNet to establish the PSAC in 2012 and consists of 43 members representing a wide range of professional organizations from public safety, as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments. The PSAC is responsible for assisting FirstNet in planning, constructing, and operating the nationwide network. ICMA members can contact Mark Ryckman with feedback or questions at


Members are encouraged to attend the ICMA Annual Conference session, “Improving Public Safety Services through Technology” in San Antonio/Bexar County, Texas, Monday, October 23, at 11:15 a.m. This session will explain how FirstNet will help improve public safety operations in your community at an affordable cost. The session will provide guidance on steps you can take now to be ready for this new technology when FirstNet becomes operational.


For more information, see the FirstNet website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.



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