Broadband

On February 22, 2012 H.R. 3630: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 set in motion the creation of a nationwide wireless network for public safety agencies. This network will provide dedicated 4G LTE broadband service to first responders throughout the country.

The law's governing framework for the deployment and operation of this network, which is to be based on a single, national network architecture, is the new "First Responder Network Authority" (FirstNet), an independent authority within NTIA. FirstNet will hold the spectrum license for the network, and is charged with taking "all actions necessary" to build, deploy, and operate the network, in consultation with Federal, State, tribal and local public safety entities, and other key stakeholders.

Utah's SIEC has been actively engaged in planning for the implementation of FirstNet in the state. A broadband subcommittee has been formed and tasked with determining current and future public safety broadband needs. The subcommittee will also coordinate with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies during the planning process to ensure adequate coverage and operability.

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Broadband Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Public Safety Broadband Network?

On February 22, 2012 H.R. 3630: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 set in motion the creation of a nationwide wireless network for public safety agencies. This network will provide dedicated 4G LTE broadband service to first responders throughout the country

How is the network being funded?

Congress allocated $7 billion dollars for the construction of the network. This funding will come from the proceeds of radio spectrum auctioned by the FCC. $2 billion can be borrowed up front and the remaining $5 billion will be available after the auction (estimated 2015).

Who will manage and maintain the network?

The legislation created a new, independent federal agency called the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FirstNet will be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the network.

FirstNet will be governed by an executive board comprised of individuals representing local, state, and federal agencies. This board will be appointed by August 20th, 2012.

Will Utah be participating in the network?

Every state will be included in the federal plan for network build-out. The states do have the options to "opt-out" of the federal plan and build their own network. Currently Utah does not have any plans to build its own network.

When will it be available in Utah?

It is too early to know when Utah agencies will have access to FirstNet. At some point in the future, FirstNet will release a plan for the implementation of the network in each state.

Who will be able to use the network?

Primary access to the network will be to public safety agencies including Police, Fire, and EMS. FirstNet will have the ability to designate secondary users who will be able to access the network at a lower priority. As of now, it is not known who will be able to access the network as a secondary user.

Do I have to use the network?

No, there is no mandate that public safety agencies utilize FirstNet.

Will there be rural coverage?

FirstNet is required to provide rural coverage. The extent of that coverage is currently unknown. Utah's SIEC broadband subcommittee has been tasked with planning for the network implementation in Utah. This includes network coverage. The subcommittee is comprised of representation from both rural and urban areas of the state.

Will there be a fee to use the network?

There will be a user fee to access the network. It is not currently known what that fee will be.

What will be the speed of the network?

The network will be built using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard which has the ability to provide speeds up to 100 Mb/s depending on usage and network capacity.

Will the network be secure?

FirstNet is required to develop security standard for the network to protect against cyber attacks.

Will this replace our current radio system?

Current LTE does not include standards for mission critical voice communications. Future versions of LTE may include these standards.

Will we have input in planning process?

FirstNet is required to consult with local, state and tribal agencies while planning for the network build-out and management. The SIEC will serve as the point of contact to FirstNet for the State of Utah. The SIEC will be working closely with local agencies to ensure the network will meet the needs of public safety agencies across the state.

Will our existing equipment work on the network?

Current broadband equipment (air cards, smart phones, etc...) will not have the ability to access FirstNet. It is believed that future equipment may be manufactured with the ability to connect with FirstNet.