By: Stephen Pundt, FirstNet Solutions Consultant, AT&T
San Antonio first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with FirstNet – the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Thanks to the ongoing FirstNet network expansion taking place across the area, firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, emergency healthcare professionals and more are taking advantage of significant benefits only FirstNet can provide.
A Dedicated Network When Needed
FirstNet is built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the FirstNet Authority – an independent agency within the federal government. That’s why we have a responsibility unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Alamo area first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency.
We’ve deployed Band 14 spectrum across the area, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. During an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on FirstNet will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. That’s unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere but on the FirstNet network.
With FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity – that’s what is driving our FirstNet build. We’re giving San Antonio first responders a level of support that’s far beyond anything they’ve ever seen. And I’m proud of how FirstNet has been delivering for San Antonio’s first responders and the community they serve when help is most needed.
Unparalleled Emergency Support
San Antonio agencies on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76+ land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.
The early impacts of FirstNet have been real, tangible and, at times, lifesaving. It’s been bringing public safety a level of connectivity and advanced capability that’s helping to transform the role communications plays in their emergency response. And the COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet: public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.
In February, a federal public safety agency requested FirstNet network support for a quarantine center at Lackland Air Force Base. While there was quality coverage outside of the quarantine center, service was minimal within the quarantine zone. So, we quickly deployed a new in-building emergency solution to support dozens of first responders.
Learn more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety at FirstNet.com.