The FirstNet Authority was established in light of September 11, 2001 to create a single, nationwide broadband network specifically for first responders. The tragedies of September 11 revealed fundamental problems with communication systems used by our nation’s first responders. Radios relied on by police, fire, and paramedics did not easily operate across different agencies. Land and mobile phone lines were overwhelmed by a high volume of calls. First responders struggled to communicate with each other.
In the years after September 11, the public safety community worked diligently to urge Congress to pass legislation establishing a single nationwide network allowing all public safety agencies to communicate. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act(link is external) was signed into law in February 2012 and allocated $7 billion and 20 megahertz of broadband spectrum to establish a network for first responders and to create the FirstNet Authority.
From our 2012 founding through today, the FirstNet Authority has collaborated with local, state, federal and tribal public safety in every state and U.S. territory to understand and incorporate their unique communication needs into the plans for FirstNet.