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FirstNet to Get Hill Hearing

The House Communications Subcommittee has scheduled a FirstNet oversight hearing for Nov. 1.

Former Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), now chair of the full committee, played a key role in creating the legislation that created the interoperable first responder broadband network, which just this month announced a majority of states had opted into the network.

There is a Dec. 28 deadline for states to opt in or out. Those that opt out can come up with their own plan and network provider, so long as it is interoperable. Verizon was pointing out this week that it is ready to handle public safety communications as well.

“Nationwide interoperability for our first responders has been a long time coming, and it’s critical for their sake and the public’s that we get this right," said Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of the subcommittee. FirstNet was proposed by the 9/11 Commission a decade or more ago.

"As next week’s hearing demonstrates, we are committed to monitoring FirstNet’s progress to ensure it brings modern communications capabilities to the brave men and women who keep us safe. It’s vital that we deliver on a system that our firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and all those on the frontlines of public safety can rely on,” she said.