In the wake of an Inspector General's report that found some problems with the Commerce Department's oversight of the board administering FirstNet, the interoperable broadband network, Rockefeller said that it should be a caution to FirstNet, but there still needed to be a "careful balance" of "the need for both effective government oversight and the autonomy necessary to launch a first of its kind nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders."
“I am pleased the exhaustive investigation by the Inspector General is complete. FirstNet can take these lessons learned and move forward," the senator said in a statement. "I continue to trust that FirstNet is in good hands, both with the Board and its executive leadership team, and I am confident that they will make sure to carefully abide by all applicable rules and regulations going forward. In fact, I understand that FirstNet has already taken steps to remedy many of the problems documented by the Inspector General. It’s now time to refocus on making FirstNet operational as soon as possible so that first responders nationwide can utilize it in their critical mission of saving lives.”
Creating FirstNet was a priority for Rockefeller in the wake of 911, and the 911 Commission's recommendation that such a network could avoid a repeat of the communications lapses suffered by firefighters. He was author of the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2012, which created FirstNet.