Georgia’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet cell sites supporting 11 counties across the state. Plus, high-quality Band 14 spectrum has been added to more than 1,300 sites across the state. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. This new infrastructure is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.
On top of the purpose-built FirstNet sites, AT&T* has also recently launched additional new cell sites in Georgia. All newly built sites will help improve the overall coverage experience for first responders, residents, visitors and businesses in the area.
“FirstNet is a gamechanger for first responders – from voluntary emergency responders in our rural communities to those on the front lines in our more densely populated metro areas,” said Homer Bryson, retired Director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Board. “Partners like the Georgia FirstNet team are delivering enhanced communications capabilities and helping keep Georgians connected in crisis, including now with key support at COVID testing sites and much more.”
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. It’s built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Georgia first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Plus, it’s giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.
Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Georgia, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. Currently well ahead of schedule, the FirstNet build has already brought Georgia first responders:
- Purpose-built network enhancements – New FirstNet cell sites – located in Adrian (Johnson County), Arlington (Calhoun County), Broxton (Coffee County), Enigma (Berrien County), Fargo (Clinch County), Georgetown (Quitman County), Homerville (Clinch County), Pearson (Atkinson County), Ideal (Macon County), Mauk (Taylor County) and Washington (Wilkes County) – have launched. These sites were identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations. With FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s what is driving our FirstNet build. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. AT&T also deployed Band 14 on more than 1,300 sites across Georgia, supporting markets such as Atlanta, Haralson, Chattooga, Columbus, Athens, Jasper and more.
- Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data. This is like giving public safety communications the “lights and sirens” treatment so that they stay connected, no matter the emergency.
- Unparalleled emergency support – Georgia agencies on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.
- Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies – We’ve also expanded the benefits of FirstNet for Georgia agencies – spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 9-1-1 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited plans.2 This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.
“Georgia’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T Georgia. “We are proud to bring the state’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety, we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale even in the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”
The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet. Where public safety goes, we go. We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark. In Conyers, our local FirstNet team deployed a dedicated FirstNet portable cell site to support our first responders at a COVID-19 testing spot. We are proudly being there for those in need and those on the front lines.
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Georgia’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We are proud to support Georgia’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”
In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com.