With FirstNet now up and running, Chris Sambar, Senior Vice President of AT&T-First Net reported back on successes at the FirstNet Authority board meeting webcast, according to UrgentComm. “The early impacts have been real, tangible and—at times—life-saving,” said Sambar. “We have multiple stories where lives have actually been saved because of the FirstNet platform and its capabilities.”
AT&T has resolved 90 FirstNet incidents since April 2018. Twenty of the incidents were scheduled events with anticipated large crowds. The remaining 70 situations were emergencies like Hurricane Michael. When responding to a crisis, Sambar noted, “We don’t always drive one of those big one-ton trucks out and pop up an antenna. Sometimes, it’s as simple as daisy-chaining multiple routers to a macro site that got damaged due to wind, fire or something else. There’s a lot of different solutions out there we’re finding, and we’re getting really creative out there in the field.”
To meet response needs, AT&T now has a fleet of 72 satellite-equipped cell-on-light-truck (SatCOLTs). “Our network suffered the same challenges on the commercial side that other commercial carriers did,” Sambar explained when discussing deployment in response to the hurricane. “The differentiator was—with all of these SatCOLTs deployed throughout the panhandle in Florida—we were able to replicate much of the network that had gone down.” He added the being part the FirstNet team enabled them to get on the scene more easily.
In a report released in October 2018, AT&T listed 250,000 FirstNet participants from 3,600 agencies. Year end numbers have not been released yet. “I believe that we will see this momentum continue and actually increase, as it has been over the past couple of months since those numbers were released.” Sambar said, “As more first responders learn that they have an option that’s been purpose-built and specifically designed for them, I think we will have continued success.”
December 18, 2018