FirstNet Brings Additional Coverage and Capacity to Minnesota to Support Public Safety Communications

Big news on the FirstNet front from AT&T in MInnesota…

FirstNet Band 14 Deployment Underway to Further Enhance Emergency Response Across the State

ST. CLOUD, Minn., April 17, 2018 – Additional coverage and capacity is coming to Minnesota’s first responders with the deployment of FirstNet’s public safety spectrum, called Band 14. This will help first responders across the state stay connected to the information they need when responding to emergencies, supporting large events or handling day-to-day operations.

FirstNet is the country’s first nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to first responders when they need it. Built with AT&T*, in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, it gives first responders’ communications capabilities a much-needed technology upgrade.

Recognizing its value, Governor Mark Dayton opted in to the FirstNet state plan in October 2017 to bring Minnesota’s first responders a reliable, highly secure and “always-on” connection.

“FirstNet is dramatically enhancing police work across Minnesota by giving law enforcement access to the most advanced communications capabilities available today,” said First Responder Network Authority Board Member Richard Stanek, who has served as the Sheriff of Hennepin County since 2007. “It will also modernize communications used by fire, EMS and other public safety personnel. This will help all first responders maintain the safety of our neighborhoods and communities, so it’s exciting to see FirstNet’s progress continue with the deployment of Band 14.”

AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority recently announced the launch of the nationwide buildout of FirstNet using Band 14.

Band 14 is high-quality wireless spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. It provides good propagation in urban and rural areas, penetrating buildings and walls easily and covering larger geographic areas with less infrastructure. Band 14 also enables high-power user equipment with the ability to radiate at levels 6 times that typically allowed on an LTE system. This means that, as Band 14 is deployed, we can extend the range of LTE coverage much further than it reaches today.

“FirstNet is bringing Minnesota’s public safety community the tools they need to help them respond to any emergency, anywhere,” said Paul Weirtz, president of AT&T Minnesota. “And the deployment of public safety’s spectrum is a big next step in the ongoing build of FirstNet, helping to connect our first responders across agencies, jurisdictions and even state lines, so they can stay safe and save lives.”

After Band 14 is deployed, when FirstNet subscribers are not using that spectrum to support their public safety needs, it can be used to improve service for all AT&T wireless customers across Minnesota. This means they’ll have access to even more coverage and capacity – when not in use by first responders – as Band 14 is built out across the state.

In addition to the FirstNet build, AT&T invested nearly $350 million in its Minnesota wireless and wired networks from 2014-2016. These investments boosted reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for public safety as well as for Minnesotans and their businesses.

AT&T continued its investment in Minnesota in 2017. Expanding its network in the area has given AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota, and AT&T plans to keep upgrading its network throughout 2018.

Since FirstNet service is an all-band solution – which means it can utilize AT&T’s LTE bands in addition to Band 14 – we’re well positioned to bring Minnesota’s public safety community the best network possible with the coverage and capacity they need to achieve their life-saving missions.

This entry was posted in Government, MN, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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