LAS VEGAS — The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) plans to continue to engage public safety stakeholders as AT&T, Inc., works on building out the nationwide public safety broadband network, but FirstNet is setting its sights on consulting directly with individual agencies, David Buchanan, FirstNet’s executive director-public safety advocacy, said during a session this morning at the APCO 2018 show here.
He noted that the pivot represents a large task given the 60,000 public safety agencies in the U.S.
FirstNet wants to capture the inputs from agencies and forward them to AT&T to ensure that the network continues to meet the needs of its users, he said. The goal is to help agencies “optimize FirstNet inside their agencies,” he said.
Since June 20, FirstNet has had more than 115 engagements attended by more than 1,500 stakeholders, said Mr. Buchanan, adding that FirstNet believes there is “a strong craving from public safety” to hear from FirstNet.
He mentioned that upcoming agency engagements are scheduled in Richmond, Va., Guam, and Minnesota.
FirstNet has developed an agency engagement workshop program that includes an agency operations and technology workshop, a data capture workshop, a products and services workshop, and after-action review engagement. It also has launched a podcast to get the word out, he said.
Asked what types of questions he hears from stakeholders, Mr. Buchanan said, “I think we caught a lot of people by surprise,” adding that some were not ready for the network and others were still not familiar with it. He said among the issues for workshops and other discussions are local control and priority service levels. —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org