The Nationwide Network Designed for First Responders

Stephanie Sanczyk
June 14, 2021

As telecommunications continues to transform and shift in 2021, so does the public safety sector. With broadband making moves to fix gaps in connectivity for first responders, we’ve decided to take a closer look at what this evolution means for the  industry and our public safety teams in the field. 

Building our nation’s first public safety broadband network.

Telecom leaders have been feeling the pressure to create an accessible broadband system since 2001 when first responders felt the pain of communicating during the events that occurred on 9/11 in New York City. First responders faced massive communication challenges when their radios and key devices were cutting out while on-the-scene during recovery efforts. Communication was impossible. Now, even after this experience, first responders and rescue teams are still feeling the pains of poor connectivity when they’re on-the-job protecting our nation in the most vulnerable situations.

After years of planning and assembling, the FirstNet Authority was established in 2012, based upon recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, was created as an independent agency to oversee the deployment of a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, called the FirstNet Network. The FirstNet Network is a nationwide, customized wireless broadband network for first responders that is currently being built and deployed across all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. AT&T is paving the way to make this happen, taking on the responsibility of building, operating, deploying, and maintaining the network through a contract with the FirstNet Authority. 

In addition to beginning deployment in 2018, FirstNet also created a roadmap of how to continue to grow and expand over the next few years. 

What FirstNet looks like in 2021.

As the FirstNet network continues to grow and expand, the team behind the network is continuously working on tackling the telecommunications challenges faced by first responders head on. Currently, the FirstNet Network has been granted priority on 5G improvements to ensure our first responders are at the forefront of wireless communications. In addition, AT&T is focused on expanding both outdoor and indoor coverage so first responders can stay connected everywhere, whether in a skyscraper or the remote wilderness. The FirstNet team continues to prioritize  innovation, specifically on features with location services, voice communications, and security, as well as exploring cutting-edge solutions to advance their connectivity and coverage. 

Safety drones are here.

Safety drones are one key solution where the FirstNet teams are investing their time. FirstNet is pushing the public use of safety drones to deliver rescue and safety equipment, fight fires, and be an eye in the sky. In addition, these drones are now being built with state of the art artificial intelligence, allowing them to move easily in hard-to-access areas like structures, tunnels, or tree-filled landscapes while tracking moving objects and seamlessly avoiding collisions. These technological advances will be critical to connecting safety teams to on-scene events like accidents, terrorist attacks, and more.

What telecommunications challenges are you facing? We can help. Contact our deployment experts today.

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