(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the Bowser Administration announced it would opt-in to the national First Responder Network – creating a new partnership between the District and FirstNet to create an enhanced wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety personnel during major events and emergencies.
The District joins nearly 40 states opting in to the national First Responder Network– a communications network that is being built, operated and maintained at no cost to participating states through a public-private partnership between FirstNet and AT&T. The FirstNet Network is expected to transform the way fire, police, EMS, emergency management and other public safety personnel communicate and share information.
“DC is home to the bravest first responders in the country and they must have the tools and advanced technologies to save lives and protect communities,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “By opting-in, we are doing our job to make sure the brave men and women who protect the Nation’s Capital has the mission-critical broadband capabilities needed to communication effectively and in real-time.”
Beginning in early 2018, public safety communication in the District is expected to receive several significant enhancements through FirstNet’s service solution which includes priority, preemption, and increased data speeds. This enhancement will provide first responders expanded cellular coverage, increased data capacity, and greater access to data, video, images, and other information through mobile devices.
“Today is an exciting day for first responders and residents in the District of Columbia,” said Denis Dunn, State President, AT&T Washington D.C. “Mayor Bowser and her team have shown a great deal of commitment and foresight by opting into FirstNet, which will help ensure that first responders in our nation’s capital get the next-generation communications tools for which they’ve asked, and that they deserve. We’re honored to support this mission.”
By opting in, FirstNet’s nationwide provider has the responsibility of ensuring that National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) services are available to all public safety agencies operating in the District and FirstNet’s nationwide provider assumes all financial responsibility for service deployment, sustainability, and enhancements through its contractual obligations with FirstNet.
Upon today’s issuance of opt-in notification, the District is working quickly with AT&T to ensure that public safety personnel have both priority and preemption immediately to support operational needs.