More than 3,600 public safety agencies now are working with FirstNet, an increase of almost 50% in less than two months, according to AT&T. The network is being used by federal, state, local and tribal public safety agencies. The FirstNet public safety agencies have made more than 250,000 connections on FirstNet, AT&T said.
“FirstNet is being purpose-built to favor the important work first responders do. This is challenging and time consuming. It’s also necessary,” said Chris Sambar, the senior vice president for FirstNet at AT&T, in a press release. “Much work still needs to be done to make sure FirstNet is a solution that meets the needs of all first responders. But we’re proud of how FirstNet has been delivering for first responders and the communities they serve when help is most needed. And we’re honored to see public safety embrace their network.”
AT&T is building FirstNet in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority. The press release provides several examples of FirstNet in action. For instance, it was useful during and still is being used in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. “We moved to the FirstNet system a few months before Hurricane Michael hit. And it was a no-brainer,” said Colquitt Miller Emergency Services Director Doug Cofty in the press release. “Having the communications capabilities FirstNet provides was critical following the storm’s devastation. Gaining that peace of mind around our communications meant we could focus on what mattered most – supporting our community.”
FirstNet Public Safety Agencies
FirstNet is in an aggressive ramp up stage. In July, AT&T said that it had installed equipment supporting the network on more than 2,500 cell sites across the United States. The buildout was pending validation when the news was released. At that point, 1,500 public safety agencies – more than 110,000 connections – had signed onto the network. In late August, FirstNet said that more than 2,500 public safety agencies nationwide had joined. About a week later, FirstNet announced that the agencies had access to the full complement of 72 dedicated deployable network assets. The assets can be deployed for planned events or in emergencies.