FirstNet Releases Road Map to Direct Future Investments, Network Focus
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 | Comments

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) released its road map, first announced earlier this year, detailing future plans for the nationwide public-safety broadband network. The road map will help FirstNet direct future investments and prioritize its programs, activities and network improvements.

FirstNet Board Chair Edward Horowitz said the organization’s staff conducted 600 interviews with about 15,000 public-safety officials to gather feedback for the report, which includes six technology and capability domains of focus for the group.

“As we look to the future of FirstNet, it is critical that we deliver network enhancements and innovations based on the needs of public safety and in lock step with trends in technology,” said Horowitz. “This road map lays out priorities for ensuring first responders have the dedicated and differentiated network they asked for, supported by the FirstNet Authority’s management of and investment in the network.”

The domains include the network core and coverage and capacity. The core provides the essential intelligence for the functioning of the network, is foundational to the network and will evolve to remain technologically current.

Coverage and capacity enable robust and ubiquitous access to the network, the road map said. Indoor coverage is noted in the report with one of the priorities being advocating for changes in policies, codes and standards to facilitate in-building coverage requirements. Increasing band 14 coverage and growing and enhancing the deployables fleet are also coverage priorities.

The additional four domains include situational awareness, voice communications, secure information exchange and user experience.

“The priorities within the road map domains will help guide our actions and continued engagement with public safety,” said Horowitz. “Now, with the road map setting a course for the network, we are moving forward on making decisions to invest in network improvements as we fully realize the promise of FirstNet.”

Technologies such as Proximity Services (ProSe), or direct mode for Long Term Evolution (LTE), that haven’t yet come to market will be incorporated as they are adopted in the market, FirstNet officials said Aug. 10 during a session at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International conference and exhibition. FirstNet also plans to assist in operationalizing FirstNet’s mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) solution by educating on relevant use cases and supporting efforts to establish relevant nationwide governance and policies. FirstNet will advocate for continued implementation of critical MCPTT features such as ProSe, LMR/LTE interconnection and dispatch capabilities.

“Things do happen when we pull together,” said Horowitz during the APCO conference.

Download the FirstNet road map and more information here.

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