FirstNet, the telecommunications network for first responders says that sign-ups for the network have surged more than fifty percent in the past two months bringing the total to 3,600 agencies.
The announcement caps off a busy month for FirstNet, which appointed a new CEO on October 1. Edward Parkinson is taking over for Mike Poth, who resigned in early September. Parkinson has been with FirstNet since 2013 and had a hand in writing the legislation that created FirstNet during his time on the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.
Momentum around the network is growing as a majority of states have joined the network and vendors are beginning to launch FirstNet compatible devices for public safety. As CivSource previously reported, Telit was selected for AIS’ line of FirstNet compatible routers. Earlier this month, Axon launched a line of LTE-enabled body cameras that will be able to transmit data over FirstNet’s LTE network. More devices are expected to come online over the next several months as they work their way through FirstNet’s device approval program.
“Much work still needs to be done to make sure FirstNet is a solution that meets the needs of all first responders. But we’re proud of how FirstNet has been delivering for first responders and the communities they serve when help is most needed. And we’re honored to see public safety embrace their network,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, FirstNet at AT&T.
FirstNet has also approved an $81 million budget for the coming fiscal year, with the goal of continuing to mature the network. FirstNet’s board has also provided $81 million in reserves for the FirstNet Authority’s operations and $78 million for network reinvestment on behalf of public safety. FY19 will be the first year that the FirstNet Authority is being directly funded by annual sustainability payments from its network contractor, AT&T, as part of the public-private partnership.