Fast Facts

The Department of Commerce’s FirstNet must establish a nationwide broadband network for public safety officials (like police officers and firefighters).

In 2017, FirstNet awarded AT&T a contract to deploy, operate, and maintain the network. AT&T is meeting contract milestones.

But since awarding the contract, FirstNet has shared little to no information about its contract oversight with state officials and other stakeholders. This has led to speculation about the extent of FirstNet’s oversight of AT&T, which could affect network users’ and stakeholders’ continued support of the program.

We recommended that FirstNet address this and other issues.

A police officer driving a cruiser with a laptop displaying a map

A police officer driving a cruiser with a laptop displaying a map

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Recommendations

GAO is making four recommendations, including that FirstNet ensure the schedule aligns with GAO best practices, share additional oversight and other information with appropriate stakeholders, and utilize end-user satisfaction information to gauge performance. FirstNet agreed with GAO's recommendations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
First Responder Network Authority 1. FirstNet's Chief Executive Officer should take steps to ensure that the integrated master schedule for the program is developed and maintained in accordance with the best practices provided in GAO's Schedule Assessment Guide. (Recommendation 1)
Open
According to FirstNet officials, FirstNet is developing a basic schedule framework to implement this recommendation. FirstNet expects the framework to become fully operationalized by the end of 2021 and will use it as a planning tool. When we confirm that FirstNet has taken additional steps in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
First Responder Network Authority 2. FirstNet's Chief Executive Officer should identify additional information about the program, including FirstNet's oversight and monitoring activities, that can be shared with public-safety stakeholders and periodically communicate and report this information to them. (Recommendation 2)
Open
According to FirstNet officials, FirstNet is developing a set of contract oversight and monitoring briefing materials that focus on the needs of the public-safety community. When we confirm that FirstNet takes additional actions in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
First Responder Network Authority 3. FirstNet's Chief Executive Officer should share relevant portions of the accepted state-specific commitment reports with the states, as specified in the contract. (Recommendation 3)
Open
According to FirstNet officials, the state-specific commitment reports have been restructured so that public safety stakeholders can receive pertinent information related to their individual state network deployment status and other recent activities enhancing or evolving FirstNet services. We are reviewing the materials FirstNet provided and expect this action will meet the intent of our recommendation.
First Responder Network Authority 4. FirstNet's Chief Executive Officer should, in consultation with public-safety stakeholders and its contractor, as appropriate, identify and obtain periodic information or meaningful indicators on end-users' satisfaction that would serve as a metric to gauge performance quality, including the effect of the FirstNet network and products on public-safety operations. (Recommendation 4)
Open
According to FirstNet officials, FirstNet identified a set of metrics that it uses when assessing network performance. These metrics are derived through a number of available resources including required contract deliverables and direct engagement activities by FirstNet. We are reviewing the materials FirstNet provided and expect this action will meet the intent of our recommendation.

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