FirstNet Fleet of Dedicated Deployable Network Assets Expands to Aid Public Safety’s Emergency Response
100+ Portable Assets – Including New Communications Vehicles and Micro SatCOLTs – Support First Responders During 2021 Wildfire and Hurricane Seasons
What’s the news? FirstNet®, Built with AT&T* – the only network built with and for America’s first responders – is expanding public safety’s dedicated fleet of deployable network assets. Only FirstNet has dedicated assets to provide fire, EMS, law enforcement and more with unthrottled access to connectivity when and where they need it, including in the immediate aftermath of a storm or other disaster when commercial power and other infrastructure may be disrupted.
Now, public safety has access to a dedicated fleet of 100+ land-based and airborne portable cell sites, all at no additional charge. Here’s a breakdown of the new additions:
- Communications Vehicles (CVs): We’ve stationed 3 CVs across the country to provide an extra-level of communications support beyond the standard deployable asset for first responders when needed. These new assets can be used for emergency deployments or planned events such as training exercises. In addition to providing connectivity via LTE (high-quality Band 14 spectrum) and/or Wi-Fi similar to a Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT), CVs provide an air-conditioned command space for 2 first responder communications personnel with multiple monitors, a television and charging stations, as well as a large exterior screen and speakers for briefings. And since they are equipped with a generator that can run for multiple days before refueling, CVs also include a lavatory, microwave, mini refrigerator and sleeping bunk for when deployed during the harshest of conditions.
- Micro SatCOLTs: We’ve added 4 of these assets and stationed them out West to support the 2021 wildfire season. Similar to the Compact Rapid Deployables available to agencies to own, Micro SatCOLTs can be easily deployed by a single technician within a matter of minutes once onsite. Their agility makes them ideal for supporting firefighters on the front lines as they adjust to wildfire’s unpredictable nature.
- U.S. Territory Assets: FirstNet supports America’s entire public safety community. That means first responders in all 50 states, 5 territories and the District of Columbia. By collaborating with local network providers in each region, we have dedicated assets stationed in Puerto Rico and the 3 Pacific territories. And now, we’ve added 2 new portable assets in the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide immediate support.
- Land-based Assets: We’ve also added 10 SatCOLTs to provide first responders similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower. They’re housed across more than 50 locations nationwide to enable a 14-hour delivery window following the initial emergency request.
The FirstNet fleet can also go airborne with 3 FirstNet Flying COWs and the FirstNet One aerostat. FirstNet One is a first-of-its-kind public safety communications solution that can fly up to 1,000 feet and replaces multiple ground-based portable cell sites, making them available to deploy elsewhere. In addition to the FirstNet fleet, public safety can also tap into the 300+ assets, from the AT&T Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) fleet when available. The AT&T NDR program is one of the largest, most advanced of its kind with more than $650 million invested in the U.S. and another $15 million invested internationally.
Why is this important? 2020 shattered records with the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever. And once again the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an above-normal season. Combined with the exceptionally dry conditions of the West priming the region for another potent wildfire season, it has never been more important for public safety to have deployable solutions dedicated to them – no matter where their mission takes them.
So far this year, public safety has requested support more than 200 times for planned and emergency events covering everything from COVID-19 vaccination centers to winter storms. Deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets, as well as the ‘ROG the Dog’ assisted therapy animals, are guided by the Response Operations Group (ROG), a team of former first responders. Their intimate understanding of the public safety mission is setting FirstNet apart. Serving as public safety’s true network partner, ROG works around the clock, 24x7x365, to help first responders stay connected and operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line. This has made a meaningful, mission-impacting difference for thousands of first responders and hundreds of agencies across the country.
How can public safety request emergency FirstNet support? Agencies on FirstNet can call 1-800-574-7000. When public safety calls for additional support, FirstNet ROG will work with the agency to assess the situation and either deploy one of the 100+ dedicated assets in the FirstNet fleet, or they will identify and provide alternate solutions that could better serve public safety – such as expediting network restoration or quickly turning-up indoor coverage. This all strengthens public safety’s command and control of their network.
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 16,000 public safety agencies and organizations subscribed – accounting for more than 2.2 million connections nationwide1 – the FirstNet network is providing first responders 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 help emergency managers, fire, EMS, law enforcement save lives and protect their communities.
What people are saying:
President, Public Sector and FirstNet, AT&T
“When disaster strikes, FirstNet is there to support first responders. It’s as simple as that. We’ve expanded the FirstNet fleet to provide even more portable cell sites, as well as to introduce new types of assets to help public safety stay mission ready. FirstNet is the only network that has assets fully dedicated to support America’s first responders, and we will continue to be at-the-ready for those who put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities – no matter the emergency.”
CEO, FirstNet Authority
“This is a strategic investment in public safety’s network. The FirstNet Authority set this in motion last year by directing network investments to expand the FirstNet fleet of deployables. Since launching the FirstNet network in 2018, the FirstNet Authority has worked with AT&T to increase the number of deployables from 72 to now over 100 mobile assets available to FirstNet users.”
“Public safety identified mobile coverage as a ‘must have’ early in the development of FirstNet, and since then we have seen both an increased use of and demand for the fleet of dedicated portable cell sites. The FirstNet Authority is pleased to deliver on our investments to expand the fleet and provide more innovative coverage solutions to public safety.”
1As of April 2021
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