First Responder Network In Arizona Funded For Next 5 Years
FirstNet is an independent authority, created by Congress after 9/11 to establish a new broadband network to be used by first responders. Arizona’s 5 year plan for the network was funded at the end of December.
Adam Geisler is Regional Tribal Government Liaison for FirstNet for Arizona, Nevada and California. Geisler said there’s a big gap across the United States, especially in states like Arizona, where there are swaths of undeveloped federal and tribal land.
“It’s not just about the coverage, it’s also about the capacity," Geisler said. "Today, public safety utilizes the same commercial networks you and I use, so when there’s a large-scale event that happens, they are competing against you and I to access data."
Geisler said the purpose of the project is to create a separate network for first responders, so they are not competing for space on the same broadband network as users on Facebook, Twitter or other common daily uses.
“Part of the challenge in states like Arizona is topography and access and those pieces,” Geisler said.
Public safety needs for broadband are expanding, ranging from sending photo images of suspects and surveillance videos, to more modern uses like real-time sharing of police body-camera videos.
FirstNet has been building preliminary infrastructure across Arizona since 2012, he said.