FirstNet Association Forms to Bridge Gap with Users, Vendors
Wednesday, April 04, 2018 | Comments

Public-safety leaders created the FirstNet Association, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between end users of the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) and those responsible for the system’s buildout, evolution and maintenance.

Al Gillespie, past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), will serve as president. Ray Flynn, retired assistant sheriff from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and Richard Mirgon, past president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, will also lead the association.

“Public-safety professionals must have access to the women and men who touch every portion of the network, from the individuals developing the hardware and software platforms that will operate on the network, to those crafting policies and regulations that will shape how the network is used,” said Gillespie. “Connecting end users with the people responsible for the network's success will help ensure the FirstNet network evolves into the best possible version of itself.”

First responders, academia, industry partners and other nonprofit associations will have a dedicated forum to trade ideas, share best practices and offer lessons learned from real-life experiences on the FirstNet network. This exchange of ideas will lead to more effective broadband deployments that will help drive innovation within public-safety departments across the country, a statement said.

“Our goal with this organization is to empower a new generation of first responders by providing them with the tools to participate in the advancement of their network," said Roger Wespe, executive director of FirstNet Association and national public-safety strategy and technology manager for Sonim Technologies. “FirstNet will succeed because first responders collectively choose to engage in this endeavor.”

“The emergence of the FirstNet Association offers great promise for the FirstNet public-safety user community and vendor community,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “We stand ready to encourage its success so that FirstNet fully realizes its exclusive public-safety mission.”

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On 4/6/18, stephen whitaker said:

There remains this nagging little issue of the IAFC having accepted at least $60,000 from AT&T before sending letters to states encouraging FirstNet opt-in decisions without disclosing the conflict that continues to color this potentially useful association.

On 4/6/18, Ron Kumetz said:
I find it laughable that an endorsement by IAFC is given any credibility given that to be a 5 Bugle Partner, AT&T had to donate at least $60,000 to IAFC. That could be called a conflict of interest or it could be called AT&T purchasing an endorsement. For AT&T that may be a wise business decision, but IAFC is supposed to be representing the interests of the fire service. Or so we thought ...


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