Rockefeller Statement on Commerce Department Inspector General Report on FirstNet

December 9, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today issued the following statement on the United States Department of Commerce Inspector General’s report on FirstNet.

“The Commerce Inspector General’s report serves as a note of caution to everyone involved in FirstNet – they must be diligent about following the rules. FirstNet is a rare hybrid with a unique responsibility. It has to carefully balance the need for both effective government oversight and the autonomy necessary to launch a first of its kind nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders.

“I am pleased the exhaustive investigation by the Inspector General is complete. FirstNet can take these lessons learned and move forward. I continue to trust that FirstNet is in good hands, both with the Board and its executive leadership team, and I am confident that they will make sure to carefully abide by all applicable rules and regulations going forward. In fact, I understand that FirstNet has already taken steps to remedy many of the problems documented by the Inspector General. It’s now time to refocus on making FirstNet operational as soon as possible so that first responders nationwide can utilize it in their critical mission of saving lives.”

Rockefeller authored the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2012, which created FirstNet. When complete, FirstNet will be the first nationwide, high-speed wireless public safety network to enable police, firefighters, EMS workers, and other state and federal first responders to communicate wirelessly when responding to natural disasters or other crises and keep America safe. FirstNet will help prevent the kind of communications failures that occurred during rescue efforts at Ground Zero on 9/11, when first responders did not have access to a single, unifying network for communicating with each other.