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Broadband Matters: Public Safety


Public safety has come to depend on ICN’s broadband to have a closed, secure connection for communicating during emergencies.

  • FirstNet will provide mission-critical, high-speed data to emergency agencies in real time.
  • First responders will have faster, more coordinated response with all agencies. 
  • Next Generation 911 (NG911), and enhanced 911 system, allows the public to alert emergency personnel to situations sharing texts and photos with dispatch.


The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is a nationwide initiative designed to provide emergency responders with the first high-speed wireless broadband network specifically dedicated to public safety. In addition to creating a faster response, FirstNet will provide mission-critical, high-speed data services in support of emergency agencies.

The FirstNet network will improve citizen and responder safety and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response through cutting edge broadband communications. Imagine a day when a single communications network can be used to dispatch EMS personnel, a medical helicopter, police officers, and fire personnel from different jurisdictions all at the same time, utilizing voice, video, and data at broadband speeds.

Public safety personnel using the FirstNet network will be able to share applications, access databases, and provide better informed responses to incidents through integrated communications. 

Visit FirstNet’s YouTube page to learn how FirstNet will benefit various public safety personnel. FirstNet will be available for use by all agencies working as a first responder. For example:

  • Fire Response Teams would be able to visually see how severe a call for a fire response may be and dedicate the appropriate personnel and equipment to a scene.
  • Law Enforcement Personnel would be able to improve situational awareness and keep officers safer with improved communications capability.
  • Emergency medical services (EMS) Personnel would be able to share real-time data and video feeds from an incident scene and during transport directly back to emergency room where workers are waiting a patient’s arrival thereby improving all levels of pre-hospital care.  EMS professionals using the FirstNet network will be able to share applications, access to databases, and provide better patient care through improved communications.

Fact Sheets, FAQs, Presentations & Reports are available in PDF format on the Resources page of FirstNet’s website


Next Generation 911 (NG911) is a broadband supported initiative that will give all Iowans the ability to become first reporters. Through the use of high-speed broadband via NG911, the public will have the ability to alert emergency personnel to situations by sharing data including text, photos and video directly to emergency dispatch centers. This gives first responders a better understanding of an emergency situation prior to arrival at any emergency incident. 

In August of 2009 Black Hawk County became the first Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in the nation to successfully implement three-digit, 9-1-1 text messaging capability. 

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department is working with all of Iowa’s emergency dispatch centers to upgrade their equipment to allow for receiving photos and videos from the public.  All 99 Iowa counties have the capability of accepting wireless enhanced 9-1-1 service, which provides the call taker at the public safety answering point with latitude/longitude coordinates so they can more readily locate the person who has placed the 9-1-1 call.

Printed from the website on April 21, 2018 at 4:57am.