October 11, 2016–The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) said today it is pleased with a resolution recently adopted by the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) supporting FirstNet (TRDaily, Sept. 28). Among other things, the resolution said the group “calls upon colleague EMS associations at the state and national levels to encourage governors to allow FirstNet to build radio access networks rather than proposing to build their own networks.”
FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth said in a statement released today: “In times of crisis, the Nation’s emergency medical personnel are on the front lines. In these moments, every second counts. No one understands this better than NASEMSO and its members. FirstNet’s mission is to deploy a public safety broadband network that enables life-saving technologies for emergency medical personnel across the Nation. We truly appreciate NASEMSO’s continued support for this mission; they have been a true partner in the effort to deliver this Network to public safety.”
Meanwhile, AT&T, Inc., or a consortium – Rivada Mercury – led by Rivada Networks LLC will most likely win the contract from FirstNet, according to analysts at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “While we don’t know who will win – we would say whoever is a winner may be getting a once in a lifetime opportunity,” the analysts said in a research note. pdvWireless, Inc., is the other known entity that has submitted a bid to FirstNet on behalf of a consortium.
In another FirstNet-related development, Rivada Mercury today released the results of a survey it commissioned. The company says that 72% of the more than 500 respondents said they would be willing to give up reception for their cell phone service so first responders can communicate, and 63% said first responders should be able to access communications before the general public. Fifty-two percent said they would support wireless carriers blocking subscribers if it helped first responders communicate. Also, 42% said they would better trust a network that is designed for the public safety community rather than commercial wireless networks. However, only 11% of respondents were familiar with the nationwide public safety broadband network that FirstNet is charged with overseeing.
“Americans clearly expect our first responders to have the best technology available to them, but they also understand the need to prioritize public safety traffic in the event of an emergency,” said Joe Euteneuer, chief executive officer of Rivada Mercury. “Overall, the survey results are encouraging for public safety as they demonstrate that consumers are comfortable with sharing a network on a sub-priority basis.” – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org