FirstNet FAQs

  • What is FirstNet?

    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is the first nationwide, high-speed wireless broadband network dedicated solely to public safety. It is an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

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  • What is the goal of FirstNet?

    The goal of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is to increase collaboration to help emergency responders. FirstNet provides first responders with the communication and resources necessary to do their job safely and effectively.

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  • Why was FirstNet created?

    During emergencies, public safety requires priority service and preemption. The last standing recommendation from the 9/11 Commission emphasized the need for a dedicated, reliable network to provide advanced data communication capabilities nationwide. FirstNet was ultimately created under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

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  • What are the duties and responsibilities of the FirstNet Authority?

    FirstNet will take all actions to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the National Public Safety Broadband Network. These actions include:

    • Ensuring nationwide standards for use and access of the network;
    • Issuing transparent and competitive requests for proposals to private sector entities to build, operate, and maintain the network;
    • Encouraging leverage of existing commercial wireless infrastructure to rapidly deploy the network.
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  • How will Georgia participate in the buildout of FirstNet?

    Georgia must have a local radio access network that connects to the FirstNet core. FirstNet is responsible for working through the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority as a part of GEMA/HS to gather requirements for developing the radio access network deployment plan.

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  • Are public safety agencies required to subscribe to FirstNet Services? (In Georgia)

    No, local public safety agencies have no legal obligation to subscribe to services provided by FirstNet.

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  • What is public safety broadband?

    The Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) will be a cellular data network that uses the same technology as commercial carriers but operates in a frequency spectrum dedicated to public safety. This ensures that first responders have access to critical data and applications, especially during incident response.

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  • Why not use existing commercial LTE coverage?

    Commercial LTE networks are market-driven, build based upon profit models. Public safety use must rely on a model that values priority access, places an emphasis on group communication, provides coverage in rural and underserved areas, and builds reliability, resiliency, and security into the network and user devices.

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