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Episode 67: Connecting the Community: Bringing Broadband to Rural Pennsylvania

Broadband infrastructure remains limited in rural communities, making it difficult for local public safety to stay connected and respond quickly to emergencies. In Shade Gap, Pennsylvania, this has meant dropped 9-1-1 calls and significant communications challenges for the mountainous area. With the launch of a new FirstNet cell site in Shade Gap, local first responders now have access to high-speed, reliable cellular connectivity that is enhancing public safety for residents and visitors.

When fiber fails, FirstNet connects Iowa’s 9-1-1 calls

When Iowa needed a backup communications network for its public safety answering points, the state turned to FirstNet. Blake DeRouchey, 9-1-1 program manager for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, shared how Iowa uses FirstNet as a failover so 9-1-1 calls stay connected. 

Estes Park receives critical cellular coverage from Crown Castle and FirstNet

The Rocky Mountain National Park Headquarters, based out of Estes Park, Colorado, is a difficult for travelers in need of aid to reach due to the remote and hazardous nature of its location. Crown Castle, the nation’s largest provider of shared communications infrastructure, through a collaboration with FirstNet, is completing a cell tower project that will maintain a connection down the 20-mile stretch of US 36 between Estes Park and the town of Lyons, Colorado enabling those in need to be able to call for help any time.

World-renowned holiday lights festival happens with FirstNet behind the scenes

Every year during the holidays, the city of St. Augustine in Florida is transformed by millions of holiday lights that bedazzle the city’s downtown in an event called Nights of Lights. As visitors marvel at the twinkling lights, St. Augustine officials use FirstNet to ensure the event runs smoothly and safely for everyone involved.

First responders leverage FirstNet to ensure safe Cinco De Mayo celebrations

Cinco De Mayo celebrations in San Jose, California, bring in large crowds every year and first responders depend on FirstNet to avoid communication challenges during the festivities. A FirstNet SatCOLT was used to ensure responders had the coverage they needed to coordinate response, and interoperability was key to keeping attendees safe.

The University Fire Department in Alaska uses FirstNet for innovative technology

The University Fire Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks helps prepare the next generation of firefighters by providing students with on-the-ground training, certifications, and a college degree. To remain at the forefront of firefighting innovation in the state, the fire department uses FirstNet technology to boost cellular transmission strength, transmit data to other first responders, capture thermal imaging, and more.


PSAC and Tribal Working Group Fall Meetings emphasize FirstNet growth and innovation

The FirstNet Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and Tribal Working Group (TWG) held their annual fall meetings. The TWG met in Boulder, Colorado to tour the FirstNet Lab, share their experiences with FirstNet equipment on tribal land, and offer insights on how to improve tribal public safety communications. PSAC members gathered in Tysons, Virginia to discuss FirstNet Authority accomplishments in 2022, FirstNet buildout progress, and upcoming plans and activities to support the network’s continued growth and expansion in 2023 and beyond.

FirstNet enables telehealth in the inland island of Jackman, Maine

The community of Jackman, Maine, has taken an innovative approach to providing emergency care quickly and efficiently. With the help of FirstNet, paramedics in Jackman can conduct telehealth sessions and treat residents at the local health clinic or in their homes, rather than transporting patients to a hospital over an hour away.

Episode 66: Oxford Police leverages compact rapid deployable to boost emergency comms in Alabama

The Oxford Police Department is the first public safety agency in Alabama to obtain a FirstNet compact rapid deployable, a miniature cell tower that generates cellular and wi-fi coverage quickly, efficiently, and wherever it’s needed. This advanced technology acts as a solution for challenges that first responders face when trying to stay connected during emergencies, in more rural areas, or during large events where networks can get overwhelmed.  

Device-focused research with public safety yields key insights

The FirstNet Authority Roadmap lays out six domains that public safety identified as critical to the network’s success. The User Experience domain helps to provide public safety with an intuitively designed user experience on the FirstNet network. The FirstNet Authority engaged with public safety to develop a deep understanding of how first responders interact with the FirstNet network through devices and applications, as well as their needs and expectations of the network.