Recently, Defense News provided some perspective on broadband from a local perspective in its article entitled “$7 Billion Disconnect: FirstNet Aims to Get First Responders Talking 12 Years After 9/11”. While FirstNet is in the title, the article actually lays out the struggles of local agencies since 9/11 to upgrade their radio systems and improve interoperability with different frequencies, systems and protocols. The article acknowledges that this discussion of broadband, which helps “connect computers and mobile computing devices,” is not the solution for the radios that have been riding on the belts of firefighters and police officers for decades.
- FirstNet is not tackling the issue of push-to-talk communications at this time.
- There is “widespread skepticism” that $7 billion will be enough to build out a robust network.
- The network may be “irrelevant” for public safety agencies for “years to come”.
Food for Thought:
- The national public safety network is in its infancy and the questions about how it will function and be funded are abundant. What questions should FirstNet answer first?