A recap of sorts from AT&T about FirstNet…
What’s the news? AT&T* is America’s public safety communications partner. In the nearly 5 years since we were selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to build and operate FirstNet®, we have moved quickly to bring more coverage, boost capacity and drive new capabilities for Minnesota first responders and the communities they serve – rural, urban and tribal.
Today, we cover nearly all of the state with FirstNet, Built with AT&T – helping to connect public safety agencies and organizations in more than 190 communities across Minnesota. That’s why we’re focused on increasing network capacity for Minnesota public safety by deploying Band 14 spectrum – nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the federal government specifically for FirstNet. We’ve rolled out Band 14 on more than 800 sites across Minnesota to provide public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it. Areas currently benefitting from Band 14 include Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Goodhue, Mankato, Baudette, Brainerd, Baxter, Chippewa County, the Iron Range and Angle Inlet.
And more Minnesota first responders are gaining access to a one-of-a-kind 5G experience on FirstNet. 5G connectivity on FirstNet is now available in Minneapolis. Public safety also has access to 5G+ (mmWave) spectrum in Minneapolis, including at the Target Center and U.S. Bank Stadium. And we’re continuing to roll out additional 5G connectivity for FirstNet in more communities nationwide.
But we aren’t stopping there. The FCC estimates that over 10,000 lives could be saved each year if public safety were able to reach callers just 1 minute faster. And since 80% of wireless calls take place indoors, in-building dedicated public safety connectivity is essential to public safety operations and overall safety. That’s why we are collaborating with Safer Building Coalition, the nation’s leading industry advocacy group focused on advancing policies, ideas, and technologies that ensure effective in-building communications capabilities for public safety personnel and the people they serve.
Why is this important? No connection is more important than one that could help save a life. Today, FirstNet is solving for common and long-standing communications challenges that first responders face – things like interoperability, network congestion and commercial network providers slowing public safety’s data connection. It’s giving them superior coverage for day-to-day response and life-saving missions. While commercial wireless offerings remain available to public safety, FirstNet continues to grow because it offers distinct advantages from those commercial offerings. FirstNet comes with unique features, functionality and dedicated spectrum when needed for the public safety community. That’s why public safety fought for their own, separate, dedicated platform, championing the vision that led to the creation of FirstNet.
How does this help bridge the digital divide? The FirstNet network expansion is one way we are helping ensure all of public safety – and the communities they serve – have access to critical connectivity to help meet the urgent challenges of today and tomorrow. We already cover more than 99% of the U.S. population today, but FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural.