A NEW NETWORK
notice on Sept. 29, 2017, and had 90 days (until
December 28) to opt in or opt out of the FirstNet plan. The final count of opt in and opt
out states is available at FirstNet.gov. As of
Dec. 29, all 50 states have opted in.
Choosing to opt in means the radio access
network will be built out at no cost or risk to
the states and territories. Opt in also offers subscribers within those states immediate priority
access to AT&T’s entire network,
Net to first responders. Whatever a
state decides to do, it’s then up to
each jurisdiction or department to
decide whether to adopt FirstNet
as a subscriber.
BENEFITS OF FIRSTNET
Any discussion of FirstNet begins
with an understanding of how
this new communications capability differs from our traditional
voice only radio networks. FirstNet brings high-speed, dedicated mobile
broadband communications capability to the
field. It’s not a replacement for the current two-way radio systems you use today, but is a major
enhancement offering totally new capabilities.
Before FirstNet, our only option was to use
commercially available cell phone networks,
which offered no real priority or guarantee of
network spectrum availability to public safety
providers. FirstNet provides what public safety
needs most: The network puts first responders
first, by providing dedicated service to pub-
lic safety users.
Dedicated service comes through something called “ruthless preemption” that automatically gives a FirstNet user the spectrum
needed to send or receive data regardless of
any congestion or slowing of the network due
to high use by the public.
Public safety providers can depend on the
network to carry mission-critical data including lifesaving data. That data can be in the
form of pictures, video, medical imaging, monitor data including 12-leads, and a host of other
data intensive uses that require dedicated high-speed connections.
Seamless communication is a basic tenet
of the FirstNet network and those within an
EMS system of care are the primary users of
the network. FirstNet recognizes EMS com-
munications with police, fire, 9-1-1 centers,
EDs, physicians and nurses as priority use.
FirstNet will be public safety-grade, mean-
ing the network will be reliable, hardened and
redundant. Unlike a land mobile radio sys-
tem that operates off a limited number of
towers, FirstNet’s LTE network
offers many more towers and
often considerable site overlap,
which makes it easier to man-
age traffic across the network
when one or two sites go down.
FirstNet will also be secure and
HIPAA-compliant, with end-to-
end encryption and a dedicated
Congress gave FirstNet a
“rural mandate” to treat rural
areas no differently than metro
areas. To better serve rural areas,
AT&T has also provided 72 deployable assets that will be prepositioned across
the U.S. for quick dispatch to large events,
natural disasters, or response in wilderness settings. These deployable assets are
mobile broadband “cells on wheels” that
can provide connectivity and service to an
area in which the traditional network towers or other infrastructure are damaged or
A POWERFUL, DEDICATED
The FirstNet network enhances the ability of
field units to receive and send information.
Information and communication are two of
the most powerful tools you can give an EMT
or paramedic in the field. It’s even more powerful in rural settings where the nearest hospital may be hours away.
Right now, when an EMS unit goes to a call,
the default position is a trip to the hospital.
With the right tools and information, EMS
can provide far better treatment in the field.
The more that is known on the scene, the easier
it is to avoid expensive and unnecessary care.
AT&T brings its current
nationwide infrastructure &
customer service experience
along with a promised
$40 billion investment in
expanding the network.
The ability to communicate directly with physicians through streaming video and shared data will improve
on-scene response and may prevent unnecessary and expensive trips to the hospital.