FirstNet in final planning stages in NE - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

FirstNet in final planning stages in NE

We live in a data– driven society.

Our first responders depend on mobile technology to communicate just as much as everyone else.

"Many things just comes down to be able to communicate in the most efficient and concise manner especially when there's all sorts of information coming in,” Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said.

Many of them have to rely on same wireless carriers as you and me.

In Lincoln’s case, it's Verizon.

In the case of emergencies, this could create major problems.

That's where FirstNet steps in.

It's a nationwide mobile broadband network by AT&T dedicated to public safety.

"It’s really very important that access to the bandwidth when they need it,” Nebraska FirstNet Program Manager Bob Wilhelm said.

The system will eliminate competition for access between first responders and the community.

It will also allow any agency to connect to each other seamlessly.

"Even though it may not be as widespread as you might as seen in like California or Katrina, certainly just a localized event with lock up towers. We were would have diminished capabilities,” Lincoln Fire and Rescue Chief Micheal Despain said.

No word on costs just yet.

Nebraska is in the last planning stages for FirstNet and moving toward implementation.

The federal government should have the final state plan on the governor's desk by this fall.

Then, he'll have to decide to opt in.

After the state plans come out, Governor Ricketts will have 90 days to decide if Nebraska wants to participate in FirstNet.

If we opt in, state agencies will then have to choose if they want to take part as well.

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