What’s the news? AT&T is America’s public safety communications partner. It’s been more than 5 years since we were selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to build and operate FirstNet, and we have moved quickly to bring more coverage, boost capacity and drive new capabilities for Arizona first responders and the communities they serve – rural, urban and tribal.
First responders in more than 40 communities across Arizona are using FirstNet, Built with AT&T to stay mission ready. Since launching FirstNet, we’ve nearly doubled our coverage area in the state. And with Band 14 deployed on over 1,000 sites, Arizona first responders in communities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Coconino County, Navajo County and Yuma are currently benefitting from the truly dedicated coverage and capacity it provides when they need it.
Additionally, the U.S. Army selected FirstNet to support firefighters, law enforcement and security personnel at 72 Army installations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including Fort Huachuca and Yuma Proving Ground. With FirstNet, U.S. Army public safety personnel have access to an unmatched level of support as well as mission-focused tools and technology they can’t get anywhere else.
And more Arizona first responders are gaining access to a one-of-a-kind 5G experience on FirstNet. 5G connectivity on FirstNet is now available in Phoenix. Public safety also has access to 5G+ (mmWave) spectrum in the professional football stadium in Glendale. And we’re continuing to roll out additional 5G connectivity for FirstNet in more communities nationwide.
But we aren’t stopping there. The FCC estimates that over 10,000 lives could be saved each year if public safety were able to reach callers just 1 minute faster. And since 80% of wireless calls take place indoors, in-building dedicated public safety connectivity is essential to public safety operations and overall safety. That’s why we are collaborating with Safer Building Coalition, the nation’s leading industry advocacy group focused on advancing policies, ideas, and technologies that ensure effective in-building communications capabilities for public safety personnel and the people they serve.
Why is this important? No connection is more important than one that could help save a life. Today, FirstNet is solving for common and long-standing communications challenges that first responders face – things like interoperability, network congestion and commercial network providers slowing public safety’s data connection. It’s giving them superior coverage for day-to-day response and life-saving missions. While commercial wireless offerings remain available to public safety, FirstNet continues to grow because it offers distinct advantages from those commercial offerings. FirstNet comes with unique features, functionality and dedicated spectrum when needed for the public safety community. That’s why public safety fought for their own, separate, dedicated platform, championing the vision that led to the creation of FirstNet.
How does this help bridge the digital divide? The FirstNet network expansion is one way we are helping ensure all of public safety – and the communities they serve – have access to critical connectivity to help meet the urgent challenges of today and tomorrow. We already cover more than 99% of the U.S. population today, but FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural.
And with FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s why the build is being done with direct feedback from public safety and local stakeholders. This feedback has been instrumental in deploying Band 14 spectrum across Arizona. All 15 counties are currently benefitting from this new infrastructure, which will help improve the overall coverage and network capacity experience for public safety on FirstNet and AT&T wireless customers in the area. And it’s helped to launch new purpose-built FirstNet sites in rural, remote and tribal areas so far – including areas where emergency responses have been previously challenged. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
What makes 5G on FirstNet “one of a kind?” FirstNet is not a commercial network. And that means our approach to 5G for public safety must be different from the way your friends and family experience 5G. With FirstNet, we’re taking the right steps for public safety in a way that meets their unique mission needs. While 5G connectivity will ultimately bring a combination of benefits like ultra-low latency and ultra-high speeds to support all kinds of users, it’s essential we approach 5G in a different way for first responders. That’s why first responders maintain voice communications with priority and preemption on LTE, while the FirstNet network determines the best route for data traffic, whether that’s 5G or LTE spectrum.
What is FirstNet? FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. With more than 21,800 agencies and organizations – accounting for more than 3.7 million connections nationwide1 – the FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to help fire, EMS, law enforcement and more save lives and protect their communities.
Acting CEO, FirstNet Authority
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety. We worked hand-in-hand with the Arizona public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this new infrastructure is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Arizona first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect our communities.”
President, AT&T Desert States
“Realizing the vision of FirstNet and coordinating with state, local and federal officials over the past five years has truly served all Arizonans. We are thrilled to continue to deploy solutions that provide connectivity across Arizona. Our reach across the state allows our public safety FirstNet subscribers to coordinate activities in times of crisis and in their everyday operations.”
Learn more about how FirstNet is transforming public safety communications — contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor and sign up for our discipline newsletters. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest FirstNet Authority updates.
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