The Communications Workers of America is spreading the word about FirstNet. The union is launching FirstResponderVoice.org to promote the nationwide mobile broadband first responder network that AT&T is building in collaboration with the federal government.
The CWA FirstNet website offers industry news; a monthly newsletter and events alerts; a directory of selected FirstNet subscribers nationwide; a downloadable toolkit, including step-by-step FirstNet subscription instructions and webinars and online trainings related to FirstNet.
“FirstResponderVoice.org will help me educate and advocate for my volunteer fire department’s communications needs,” Vinny Galvin, a 25-year volunteer firefighter in Dutchess County, New York and member of CWA Local 1101, said in a press release. “It’s a fantastic resource that’s going to have a huge impact on making sure that firefighters like me across the country have access to this life-saving system.”
“Our members who are professional and volunteer first responders are enthusiastic about FirstNet. They know better than anyone how absolutely vital it is to have a clearinghouse for stakeholders so that they can be informed, empowered, and agile advocates for their communities,” said Bianca Garcia, the CWA FirstNet Program Coordinator.
FirstNet is growing more active. Some recent activity includes:
- In July, AT&T said that equipment operating in the FirstNet spectrum band had been installed on 2500 cell sites nationwide, though the buildout was yet to be validated by the FirstNet Authority.
- Earlier this month, the organization said that it would use Axon Body 3 cameras, which can alleviate danger to first responders and the public. The cameras provide live video, gunshot detection alerts, the ability to upload evidence from the field and other features.
- Also this month, FirstNet provided access to the full fleet of 72 dedicated deployable network assets. They are stationed around the country and can be deployed for live events or in emergencies.
- In August, FirstNet said that more than 2,500 public safety agencies across the country have joined the network. This almost doubled the amount of agencies in the project since the preceding update, which was only a month earlier.
The CWA counts 700K workers in the telecom, IT, media, and airline industries, among others, in their union. Support of FirstNet comes from the AT&T union workforce that is helping build the nationwide public safety network. AT&T has about 40K workers who are members of the CWA, according to the union.