Academic journal article Federal Communications Law Journal

Rural Response: The Need for an Effective Rural Firstnet Network

Academic journal article Federal Communications Law Journal

Rural Response: The Need for an Effective Rural Firstnet Network

Article excerpt

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS  I.  INTRODUCTION                                                     54 II. BACKGROUND                                                       56     A. Statutory Background                                          56     B. Rural First Responders Face Unique Challenges                 59     C. FirstNet's Prioritization of Urban Areas                      61     D. Urban First Responders Have Inherent Advantages               63 III. ANALYSIS                                                        64     A. FirstNet Needs to Ensure that National Providers Do Not Take        Advantage of the RFP                                          65     B. The Final FirstNet Plan Needs to Include Local and Regional        Service Providers                                             66     C. FirstNet Should Dictate that a Certain Amount of Initial        Federal Funding Go to Rural Areas                             69     D. The Network Needs to Be Able to Adapt with Advances in        Technology                                                    71     E. The Federal Government Needs to Accept That Rural Areas May        Not Be Profitable                                             72 IV. CONCLUSION                                                       73 

I. INTRODUCTION

Imagine: an oil spill rapidly spreading in the wilderness, and a terrorist threat to a major urban area. Both are devastating in different ways. However, what groups these phenomena together is the need for swift and comprehensive responses from multiple first responder groups, allowing for a sustained, simultaneous response to multiple concurrent events. The flaw in not having an interoperable system, which allows for different agencies to effectively communicate during a response to a catastrophe, was demonstrated during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In both cases, the lack of interoperable public-safety communications hampered rescue efforts and the overall effectiveness of public safety operations. (1) The need for a unified response from public safety officials prompted Congress to create the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which will encourage greater interconnectivity between multiple first responder agencies in the event of an emergency. (2)

Responding to emergencies is a critical part of a first responder's job. (3) Communication systems are essential for public safety officials such as police, firefighters, and paramedics to gather and share information during emergencies. (4) In an attempt to provide first responders with adequate communications support, Congress established FirstNet with the passage of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. (5) Specifically, the Act established FirstNet as an independent authority within the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), charged FirstNet with the establishment of a nationwide public-safety broadband network, and allocated billions of dollars for this public-safety broadband network's construction. (6) The Act directly provided resources, including both spectrum licenses and financial appropriations, for the establishment of a nationwide, interoperable wireless broadband network specifically for first responders. (7) The Act required the FCC to reallocate the "D Block," part of the 700 MHz band that had previously been allocated for commercial use, to FirstNet. (8) Specifically, FirstNet's license allows them to operate between 758-769 MHz and 788-799 MHz. (9) FirstNet was also granted a license to operate within the existing public safety broadband spectrum. (10) States may opt out and deploy their own networks should the FirstNet's nationwide broadband plan be unsatisfactory to them. (11)

FirstNet is required to charge fees that are sufficient to cover its operating expenses for each fiscal year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.