FirstNet Built with AT&T

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FirstNet Built with AT&T Helps Keep Public Safety Connected

Information is everything in an emergency. First responders need fast, reliable, around-the-clock connectivity to coordinate and communicate during ordinary and extraordinary days. Unfortunately, there are more than 10,000 proprietary radio networks used by public safety teams across the U.S. It’s often hard for public safety officials to communicate and work together to save lives. At the same time, commercial cellular networks can be overwhelmed in times of crisis. In a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, AT&T built the only nationwide high-speed wireless broadband communications platform dedicated to public safety addressing both those concerns.

This guide will discuss:

  1. What is FirstNet?
  2. Who is eligible for FirstNet?
  3. Why is FirstNet ideal for first responders?
  4. How is FirstNet different from other commercial carriers?
  5. What plans are there for FirstNet?
  6. What devices work with FirstNet?
 

What is FirstNet?

FirstNet is the only nationwide wireless broadband communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community. This reliable, highly-secure communications platform brings reliability to public safety agencies and first responders—helping them make faster and better decisions to keep themselves and the public safe. FirstNet is different from other carriers in that it has a dedicated public safety core that routes FirstNet traffic. It also encrypts network traffic within the core, creating the highly secure environment public safety requires. Today, 80 percent of the network has been built out, and AT&T is rapidly continuing to add to it every day.

FirstNet is the result of a public/private partnership between the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T. Based on recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report, legislation was passed in 2012 to combine private sector resources, infrastructure, expertise and economies of scale with government resources—including Band 14, highly desirable spectrum dedicated to public safety by the Federal government—to deploy and operate a first responder network. AT&T is contractually committed to build a network designed to meet a 99.99% service availability objective a standard unmatched by any other large scale LTE network in the world today.

Who is eligible for FirstNet?

FirstNet is exclusively for first responders and those that support their vital efforts. This includes law enforcement, fire protection services, emergency (911) call dispatching and government Public Safety Answering Points, emergency planning and management offices, and emergency medical services. Other essential personnel who support first responders before, during and after an emergency can also subscribe to FirstNet. These organizations provide medical care, mitigation, remediation, overhaul, clean-up, restoration, or other such services during or after an incident.

Why is FirstNet ideal for first responders?

FirstNet provides America’s first responders with highly secure and reliable connectivity while on the job, whether it be a crisis or a routine task in a congested area. FirstNet provides public safety with a dedicated lane of connectivity when they need it. To help ensure first responders have as much coverage and capacity as possible, FirstNet subscribers have access to all AT&T LTE commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane.

During an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on FirstNet will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. That’s unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere but on the FirstNet network.

How is FirstNet different from other commercial carriers?

Some commercial carriers provide some level of priority for first responders. However, First Priority® on FirstNet is much more robust. It includes priority and, for first responders, preemption capabilities. FirstNet provides enhanced priority on all voice calls and enhanced quality of service on all data and messaging. No other major commercial carrier can match the quality of the priority offered by FirstNet.

The speed, performance and reliability provided by FirstNet allows emergency personnel to share videos, text messages, photos and other essential information during incidents in near real time and utilize location services to help with mapping capabilities during rescues and evacuations. Having an unlimited, reliable and fast Internet connection on a separate cellular network gives first responders the confidence they need to handle any emergency situation.

What rate plans are there for FirstNet?

Rate plans are available for organizations or individuals. Eligible customers can choose from a variety of plans that fit any situation—choosing talk, text, data, mobile hotspot and/or tethering services. And they can be used with a compatible smartphone, tablet or wearable device. Subscriptions include nationwide coverage on an all-band solution—including AT&T LTE bands and Band 14—dedicated FirstNet customer support, full application ecosystem, full device ecosystem and credentialing processes (ICAM). International roaming and cruise ship packages can be added as well.

What devices will work on FirstNet?

FirstNet runs on its own dedicated network core, which is completely separate from the AT&T commercial wireless network core. To access the dedicated FirstNet network core, devices must be Band 14 compatible. FirstNet offers a wide variety of FirstNet Ready™ devices, ranging from purpose-built rugged units to the world’s most popular smart phones, tablets and wearable devices. Devices that have a FirstNet Ready badge will work on the FirstNet Evolved Packet Core with the installation of a FirstNet SIM card which is included at no cost when purchasing a FirstNet rate plan.

The bottom line

  • FirstNet is the AT&T nationwide high-speed wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety when and where they need it most. It allows first responders, emergency personnel and other essential workers to communicate during an emergency situation. It is designed to cut through the clutter of commercial traffic.
  • The speed, performance and reliability provided by FirstNet allows emergency personnel to share videos, text messages, photos and other essential information during incidents in near real time and utilize location services to help with mapping capabilities during rescues and evacuations.
  • Eligible customers can choose from a variety of talk, text and data plans and use any FirstNet Ready smartphone, tablet or wearable device.