Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced on Monday the
15-member board of FirstNet, the government's name for the interoperable
broadband emergency communications network being funded by auctions of
reclaimed broadcast spectrum.
The board comprises 12 members of the telecom, public
safety, finance and technology sectors. The 12 will serve a mix of 1-, 2- and
3-year terms. There are also three permanent members from the administration --
the secretary of Homeland Security, the director of OMB and the attorney
general. The board will oversee the creation of the network, which was one of
the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. It is chaired by former telecom
executive Sam Ginn, now senior advisor at Greenhill LLC.
Other members are Tim Bryan, CEO, National Rural
Telecommunications Cooperative; Charles Dowd, deputy chief of the New York City
Police Department; F. Craig Farrill, cofounder, Kodiak Networks Inc.; Paul
Fitzgerald, sheriff, Story County, Iowa; Jeffrey Johnson, retired fire chief;
William Keever, former telecommunications executive; Kevin McGinnis, chief and CEO,
North East Mobile Health Services; Ed Reynolds, retired telecommunications
executive; Susan Swenson, telecommunications/technology executive; Teri Takai,
former CIO for Michigan and California; Wellington Webb, founder, Webb Group
International and former mayor of Denver.
The board was created by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job
Creation Act of 2012 -- the broadcast spectrum auctions were attached to that
bill. It required the board be made up of members "who have served as
public safety professionals; have members who represent the collective interests
of states, localities, tribes and territories; and reflect geographical and
regional diversity, as well as rural and urban representation."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who pushed for the spectrum
auction legislation as a vehicle for what he saw as the long-overdue emergency
net, applauded the announcement. "Today's appointments begin a new chapter in
making sure our firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers, among other
first responders, have the tools they need to get the job done and keep us
safe," the senator said in a statement. "I commend the new FirstNet Board
members for agreeing to serve."
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who pushed for the network from
the House side of the Capitol, was equally pleased.
"Today's announcement is an important step toward deploying
a nationwide, interoperable communications network for our first
responders," she said in a statement. "The individuals selected to
serve on the FirstNet Board bring decades of experience as public safety officials,
former telecommunications executives as well as local and state government
officials. I congratulate them on their selection and am confident that they'll
bring the leadership needed to oversee the build-out, deployment, and operation
of this network in a timely and efficient manner."