FirstNet expands fleet of deployable network assets for first responders

100+ portable assets, including communications vehicles and micro SatCOLTs, will be on hand to support first responders during wildfire and hurricane season


By News Staff

WASHINGTON — FirstNet, built with AT&T, announced Thursday the expansion of its fleet of deployable network assets to help first responders. Public safety personnel will now have access to a dedicated fleet more than 100 land-based and airborne portable cell sites, all at no additional charge.

FirstNet detailed the importance of these assets: “Once again, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an above-normal [hurricane] season. Combined with the exceptionally dry conditions of the West priming the region for another potent wildfire season, it has never been more important for public safety to have deployable solutions dedicated to them – no matter where their mission takes them.”

FirstNet has stationed three communications vehicles across the country to provide an extra-level of communications support.
FirstNet has stationed three communications vehicles across the country to provide an extra-level of communications support. (Photo/FirstNet)

FirstNet outlined the additional assets:

  • 3 communications vehicles (CVs): FirstNet has stationed three CVs across the country to provide an extra-level of communications support. The new assets can be used for emergency deployments or planned events, such as training exercises.
  • 4 Micro SatCOLTs: FirstNet added four of these assets and stationed them out West to support the 2021 wildfire season. Similar to the Compact Rapid Deployables available to agencies to own, Micro SatCOLTs can be deployed by a single technician within a matter of minutes once on site.
  • 2 new assets in U.S. territories: FirstNet has dedicated assets stationed in Puerto Rico and the three Pacific territories, and has now added two new portable assets in the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide immediate support.
  • 10 land-based Assets: FirstNet added 10 SatCOLTs to provide first responders similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower. The assets are housed across more than 50 locations nationwide to enable a 14-hour delivery window following the initial emergency request.

The FirstNet fleet can also go airborne with three FirstNet Flying COWs and the FirstNet One aerostat. FirstNet One can fly up to 1,000 feet and replaces multiple ground-based portable cell sites, making them available to deploy elsewhere.

FirstNet added that there have already been more than 200 requests for support so far this year for planned and emergency events, covering everything from COVID-19 vaccination centers to winter storms. Deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets, as well as the “ROG the Dog” assisted therapy animals, are guided by the Response Operations Group (ROG), a team of former first responders.

In addition to the FirstNet fleet, public safety can also tap into the 300+ assets from the AT&T Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) fleet when available.

Agencies on FirstNet can call 1-800-574-7000 for support. FirstNet ROG will then work with the agency to assess the situation and either deploy one of the 100+ dedicated assets in the FirstNet fleet, or they identify and provide alternate solutions that could better serve public safety.

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