This week AT&T helped everyone take a major step forward for public safety and the broadband network our Nation’s police, fire and EMS have fought for and deserve. First responders frequently lack the ability to coordinate and communicate across agencies and jurisdictions when the public needs them the most.
That is about to change. AT&T is working with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first-ever nationwide broadband network dedicated to America’s first responders.
We will build a network that is second to none, covering all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands. It will strengthen and modernize public safety’s communications capabilities, enabling them to operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line.
AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the 25-year contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network. And our work on FirstNet is expected to create 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years.
This is a much needed investment in America’s communications infrastructure to support millions of first responders and public safety personnel nationwide who protect and serve more than 320 million people across the U.S. This significant public-private infrastructure investment is expected to create 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years from AT&T’s work for FirstNet. The network buildout will begin later this year.
Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said, “We are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America’s police, firefighters and EMS that is second to none. This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority.”
“Today is a landmark day for public safety across the Nation and shows the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
“FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure. This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector.”
Today, first responders use commercial networks – the same ones used by consumers and businesses – for mobile data and applications. That can be an issue when a significant public safety crisis happens and commercial networks quickly become congested. It makes it difficult for first responders to communicate, coordinate and do their jobs.
Plus, first responders use more than 10,000 networks for voice communications. These networks often do not interoperate, which severely limits their ability to communicate with each other when responding to a situation.
FirstNet’s mission is to fix this. Through this new public-private partnership with FirstNet, AT&T will deliver a dedicated, interoperable network and ecosystem that will give first responders the technology they need to better communicate and collaborate across agencies and jurisdictions – local, state and national.
“There’s no connection more important than one that can save a life,” said Kay Kapoor, president, AT&T Global Public Sector. “FirstNet is unprecedented in its vision, scope and importance to our nation and the future of public safety communications. We’re honored to be selected for this historic and critical initiative.”
“This partnership brings together FirstNet as the voice of public safety and a global technology team with a proven track record and commitment to public safety,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “Together, FirstNet and AT&T will move with precision and urgency to deliver this much-needed infrastructure to those who need it the most: the first responders we rely on in disasters and emergencies.”
In addition to creating a nationwide seamless, IP-based, high-speed mobile communications network that will give first responders priority access, the network will help:
· Improve rescue and recovery operations to help keep first responders out of harm’s way
· Better connect first responders to the critical information they need in an emergency
· Further the development of public safety focused IoT and Smart City solutions such as providing near real-time information on traffic conditions to determine the fastest route to an emergency
· Enable advanced capabilities, like wearable sensors and cameras for police and firefighters, and camera-equipped drones and robots that can deliver near real-time images of events, such as fires, floods or crimes