FirstNet turns 1, announces 600K device connections, plans to expand
The FirstNet communications platform for first responders is being used by more than 7,250 public safety agencies to improve interagency communication
By News Staff
DALLAS — More than 600,000 devices are now connected to FirstNet, the communication platform built specifically for first responders by AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority, one year after its launch.
According to a press release from AT&T, more than 7,250 public safety agencies are using FirstNet connected devices to improve interagency communication during natural disasters, mass casualty events and other public safety emergencies.
“Last year’s 7.0 earthquake really brought the significance of the FirstNet system to light,” Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said. “When the shaking stopped, I relied on my FirstNet phone to begin our response to the disaster. Where others had trouble connecting due to network congestion, FirstNet gave us the uninterrupted ability to coordinate our tireless efforts to keep the citizens of Anchorage safe.”
FirstNet allows first responders to connect at a speed 25% faster than commercial networks and provides consistency and reliability during times when communication is crucial, according to the press release. In addition, subscribers also have access to three Flying COWs (flying portable cell sites) comprised of two tethered drones and a trailer for transport which is equipped with satellite dish and fiber connections.
Plans to expand for year two
During its first year, the FirstNet communication platform brought Band 14 spectrum to more than 600 markets, and AT&T has plans to expand it further, allowing public safety agencies of all sizes to utilize the service.
“Rural Idaho represents significant challenges in terms of emergency communications coverage and interoperability,” Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead said. “FirstNet is addressing our challenges of coverage and providing state of the art capabilities needed to ensure the safety of the public and our law enforcement officers.”
Visit the FirstNet website for more information.