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Monday, April 22nd, 2024

FirstNet expands public safety access to more than 100 portable cell sites

© FirstNet Authority

The FirstNet network expanded the number of unthrottled, deployable network assets for fire, EMS, law enforcement, and other public safety personnel to more than 100 land-based and airborne portable cell sites as of last week.

“When disaster strikes, FirstNet is there to support first responders,” Jason Porter, president of Public Sector and FirstNet at AT&T, said. “It’s as simple as that. We’ve expanded the FirstNet fleet to provide even more portable cell sites, as well as to introduce new types of assets to help public safety stay mission ready. FirstNet is the only network that has assets fully dedicated to support America’s first responders, and we will continue to be at-the-ready for those who put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities – no matter the emergency.”

This makes communication more reliable for these responders, particularly when dealing with the aftermath of major storms or other disasters resulting in the disruption of commercial infrastructure. The new assets include three new communications vehicles, usable by emergency deployments or planned events, and provide access through LTE and/or Wi-FI, as well as centralized command spaces, complete with generators.

An additional four micro SatCOLTs have been stationed in the Western United States to support the 2021 wildfire season response. They are agile response vehicles. Further, FirstNet has collaborated with local network providers in each region and added two new portable assets in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Another 10 full-size SatCOLTs have been housed nationwide to grant first responders what are essentially mobile cell towers capable of delivery within 14 hours.

The expansion of equipment is a direct response to the record hurricane season of 2020, along with the dryness fueling fires in the West. Already, FirstNet reported that more than 200 requests have been made for planned and emergency public safety events, including COVID-19 vaccination efforts.