First responders in McCall and Kamiah are getting a major boost in their wireless communication with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet sites. 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. Plus, the new FirstNet sites will give Idaho’s first responders access to the fastest overall network experience.1
The McCall site is located near Little Payette Lake and will improve coverage in the lake area and extend through the McCall Golf Club. “Visitation and travel to McCall is increasing year over year, which has exacerbated the pressures on our first responders in the area” said Tara Thue, President of AT&T Mountain West States. “And FirstNet is built for all public safety – rural and urban. That’s why connecting remote and rural parts of the stat is one of our top priorities. I’m pleased that AT&T’s investment in McCall will help to meet that need.”
The other site is located north of Kamiah. “Ensuring reliable coverage along the winding highway, which parallels the Lochsa River on one site and a steep canyon wall on the other was a top priority for our FirstNet build in the state. AT&T is proud that this investment will help ensure first responders can do their jobs with highly secure, reliable connectivity across their network,” Thue continued.
FirstNet is the nationwide, wireless communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community. Its primary objective is to connect first responders to critical information quickly, helping them keep their communities safe. FirstNet is built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
To ensure AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. The McCall area was selected as the location for the new cell site due to its proximity to the lake area extending through the McCall Golf Club. The Kamiah area was selected as the location for the new cell site due to its proximity to U.S. Highway 12.
The site is constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. Band 14 has also been added on nearly 200 existing sites across Idaho as part of the initial FirstNet build, including markets such as Grangeville and Orofino.
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Idaho’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these cell sites are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting McCall and Kamiah’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, the new sites will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in these areas. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
1Based on AT&T analysis of Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® data median download speeds for Q3 2020. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission.