AT&T touted the gains that its FirstNet public safety network has made in a press release announcing a new satellite connectivity option.
The new satellite option comes via the Mini Compact Rapid Deployable for FirstNet (miniCRD), a platform that AT&T and the FirstNet Authority said is half the price and 80% smaller than the CRD for FirstNet, a previously introduced version of the technology.
The miniCRD consists of two ruggedized cases, each of which is about the size of checked luggage. It can be set up by one person in minutes, covers up to a half-mile, and links to FirstNet via satellite even when commercial power is unavailable.
The FirstNet network, which is celebrating its sixth anniversary, now covers a footprint of more than 2.91 million square miles. It hosts more than 25,000 public safety agencies and organizations. Examples of those organizations included in FirstNet’s press release include Indian Health Service (IHS), a federal agency that supports tribal communities across the country and Superior, whose paramedics support communities across the Midwest.
“After just six years of partnership, we are proud to see how far FirstNet has come,” CEO FirstNet Authority CEO Joseph Wassel said in the press release. “The network is serving public safety in every state and territory, making a positive impact on responder operations and our nation’s communities every day. The FirstNet Authority looks forward to collaborating with public safety to ensure the network grows and evolves to meet their needs – now and in the future.”
The organization offered a number of statistics that provided insight into its size. FirstNet has made 4.4 million connections and offers more than 200 apps in the FirstNet App Catalog. There are 560 FirstNet Ready devices, more than 150 dedicated assets, including Flying Cells on Wheels (COWs) and CRDs.
FirstNet was built as an LTE network, but AT&T has been upgrading it to support 5G.
Last August, AT&T expanded the 5G connectivity of the FirstNet network to make it available in more than 40 cities, including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Seattle and St. Louis.