Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer To A Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network?

March 11, 2015

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, will convene a hearing on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. entitled “Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer To A Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network?” The chairwoman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), the organization mandated to establish the first nationwide broadband network for emergency responders, and officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Government Accountability Office will testify at the hearing.
 
At the urging of the public safety community, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created FirstNet, an organization designed to serve as an “independent authority” in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and to “provide emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed network dedicated to public safety." As highlighted by the tragedy of 9/11, the reliance by first responders on separate networks has made communications among public safety professionals problematic during emergencies.
 
The hearing will examine the progress of FirstNet's nationwide wireless broadband network for emergency responders. Witnesses will discuss progress and challenges in building the network, as well as FirstNet’s future as a self-funding entity as required by the Act.
 
Witnesses:

- The Honorable Bruce Andrews, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce
- Mr. Mark Goldstein, Director (Physical Infrastructure), Government Accountability Office (GAO)
- Ms. Susan Swenson, Chairwoman, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)
- The Honorable Todd Zinser, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Commerce
- Chief G. Keith Bryant, President and Chairman of the Board, International Association of Fire Chiefs
 
Hearing Details:
 
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
10:00 a.m.
 
Full Committee hearing entitled “Three Years Later: Are We Any Closer To A Nationwide Public Safety Wireless Broadband Network?”
 
This hearing will take place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements and a live video of the hearing will be available on this page.

For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:

• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265

• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421

• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548

• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.

Webcast

Majority Statement

  • Chairman John Thune

Witness Panel 1