ITP Seminar Series - An overview of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Published: Feb. 27, 2017

On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, ITP and the ITP Seminar Series hosted Jeff Bratcher, Chief Technology Officer of FirstNet. The date of the seminar, Feb 22nd, was especially interesting since this marks the 5th year anniversary of the signing of the Public Law 112-96 which created FirstNet.  The seminar was well attended by students, faculty and industry showing strong support of the initiatives outlined by FirstNet.

firstnet logoMr. Bratcher emphasized their mission:

"FirstNet’s mission is to ensure the building and operation of the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety"

Said a different way, "FirstNet is a Broadband Network for Public Safety, by Public Safety".  "The FirstNet Network will provide law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency service personnel a reliable, redundant, resilient, and secure connection to carry high-speed data, location information, images, and video."

seminar series photoThe topics presented by Jeff included:

  • FirstNet history and accomplishments over the years
  • Current challenges such as competing with commercial users for wireless resources
  • Spectrum: 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standardized as LTE “Band 14”
  • LTE Technology Evolution
  • Standards for public safety
  • State plans
  • FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab
  • Summer 2017 internships

Jeff Bratcher talked about newer technologies, such as LTE Band 14, and how commercial users currently take advantage of LTE but public safety users have been left behind.  What if first responders had the same technology found on the iPhone or Android devices when responding to an emergency, but in a rugged handheld device that's been tested and hardened for their use?  He also highlighted the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab located in Boulder, CO that is designed to test features, devices and applications in support of first responders and their stringent requirements. The possibilities are endless and FirstNet will shift the paradigm by facilitating new services for public safety as a result of the Request for Proposal (RFP) award, which aims to retain a private operator for the public/private FirstNet network.  This operator will design network services in support of first responders nationwide. 

To view the presentation slides, click here.

To see other ITP Seminar Presentations, visit https://www.colorado.edu/itp/industry/itp-seminar-presentations.