The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. FirstNet is governed by a 15-member Board consisting of the Attorney General of the United States, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and 12 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. The FirstNet Board is composed of representatives from public safety; local, state and federal government; and the wireless industry.
Signed into law on February 22, 2012, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act created FirstNet. The law gives FirstNet the duty to build, operate and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety entities. FirstNet will provide a single interoperable platform for public safety communications.
The FirstNet network will be a single, nationwide long term evolution (LTE) network that makes it easier for public safety users to communicate during emergencies and on the job every day.
This nationwide public safety broadband network will transmit data and broadband communications (computers, smartphones, and new devices) and is meant to supplement, not replace, mission-critical public safety voice radios.