In case you missed our recent social media and blog posts, historic news broke over the holidays: all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories have officially opted into FirstNet to build a wireless broadband network exclusively for the nation’s first responders.
Two other territories, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands, have until March 12 to make their decision.
This is a milestone achievement. The IAFC has been a fierce supporter of FirstNet since its inception in 2012. We met with many members of Congress. We testified at several Congressional hearings. In 2017, we wrote to each governor of the states and territories and the mayor of Washington, D.C., asking them to opt into FirstNet.
Soon emergency responders for the first time will be equipped with a nationwide, high-speed, broadband network solely for public safety’s use. It will also create innovative opportunities for EMS and the way it integrates into the healthcare system.
On behalf of the IAFC Board of Directors, I thank everyone who helped in ways large and small to secure this clean sweep in getting all 50 states to opt in.
However, the battle is far from over. Fire-service leaders in every state and territory must remain actively engaged in the process. Think of it as if a bond referendum to fund a new firehouse in your community has been passed, but now it’s time to build it. When it comes to FirstNet, please make sure the voice of the fire service is heard in your state or territory.
Today, we’re closer than ever to operating the first nationwide, broadband network to help first responders save lives and protect communities. Let’s keep up the hard work.
Read the full news release to learn more about key FirstNet milestones and activities planned for 2018.