The First Responder Network Authority of the United States- more commonly known as FirstNet – was created in 2012 as an agency of the United States Department of Commerce. In 2017, after extensive RFP evaluations, lawsuits, starts and stops, the final award of the FirstNet contract was made to AT&T. By year-end 2017, all fifty states, six territories, and multiple counties, cities and major government agencies have ‘opted in’ to the contract. The vision is a national, dedicated and highly secure voice, data and video network – with unique and compatible user equipment with custom applications all targeted at Public Safety with a high degree of both survivability and interoperability.
Against this backdrop, what role might Amateur Radio play – in all its forms, ARES, SHARES, MARS or simple voice net emergency traffic handling – what impact will FirstNet have on Amateur Radio’s value during times of emergency?
While there are no clear answers yet – one thing is for sure: if you aren’t asking the right questions, you may not recognize an answer when it comes along. Join the conversation at the monthly SARA meeting Monday night November 12.
Our speaker is our own Mike Stephens, KW3D. Mike is a long-time veteran of the cellphone industry, having spent over 25 years with BellSouth Mobility/Cingular/AT&T. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Electronics commercial FCC license prep course and served the Navy as an electronics technician for 10 years. He is currently in senior management with AT&T Mobility and is deeply involved in, among other things, FirstNet. Mike had been “meaning to” get his ham license for a long time, and when he decided to get into it, he only needed three months to progress from technician, to general, to extra class. He has managed Field Day for us the last two years.
So Where Does All This Take Place?
The meeting is at 7:00 on Monday, November 12. We are at Northside Forsyth Hospital’s Bennett Center, 1400 Northside Forsyth Drive, Cumming, GA 30041. This is off GA 400 Exit 14. Enter from Ronald Reagan Blvd. (extension of Marketplace Blvd.) The Bennett Center is on the first floor of the 1400 building, directly across the drive from the (free) parking garage. The conference center is behind the reception desk to your left as you enter the 1400 building. Of course, you don’t have to be a member of SARA to come, but if you live in the area we’d really appreciate your membership.
A Ham’s Gotta Eat
If you can, join us at 5:30 or so at Marie’s, http://www.mariesitaliandeli.com/. It’s in the Publix shopping center on the north side of GA 20 (GA400 Exit 14), 580 Atlanta Rd, Cumming, Ga. 30040. Marie’s is in the 2nd building to the left of Publix, just past the Humane Society Thrift Store and the monopole cell tower. Here is a Google Street View of the restaurant front to show you what to look for: https://goo.gl/maps/ksJXJXkozMT2. Look for us maybe at the big table in the front, or on the right side of the restaurant, depending on what’s available when we get there.