police officer using wireless device (First Responder Network Authority/Flickr)

San José deploys FirstNet governmentwide

The city of San José last week became the first city to connect FirstNet with all public safety personnel and emergency response staff.

FirstNet is a dedicated wireless network for first responders and other emergency personnel.

In San José, access now extends to the Police and Fire Departments; San José International Airport; the Office of Emergency Management; the Office of the City Manager; the Office of Civic Innovation; and the Departments of Environmental Services, Public Works, Transportation, and Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services.  Mayor Sam Liccardo called the deployment "a model for cities across the country to ensure those charged with maintaining the safety of our residents and communities have the tools they need to stay connected during disasters and emergencies."

AT&T, which has the contract with the First Responder Network Authority to develop and deploy FirstNet, already set up the FirstNet Band 14 spectrum throughout San José.

"Outdated and unreliable communications have slowed down our public safety response for far too long," Rick Riordan, the director of the San José Office of Emergency Management, said. “It’s about time that we change the face of public safety communications, and I’m proud to see San José lead the way with FirstNet.”

In May, FirstNet announced it was being used by more than 7,250 public safety agencies.

The network is also available to what FirstNet calls "extended primary users" – those agencies that support first responders with mitigation, remediation, overhaul, clean up and restoration during an emergency or its aftermath. Essential government services, education, transportation and utilities can also apply to use the network. 

Besides state and local entities signing onto FirstNet, the Navy plans to use the network to improve communications in operations in which the military assists civil authorities.

About the Author

Anoushka Deshmukh is an intern with Public Sector 360, writing for GCN, FCW and Defense Systems.

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