FirstNet’s Impact on Public Safety, Three Years Later


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Public safety network, FirstNet, is beginning its third year and has already logged a score of achievements. The 25 year contract has incorporated all 50 states, plus Washington D.C. and five U.S. territories.

FirstNet has a five-year goal to build out its dedicated Band 14 spectrum and has, to date, linked 11,000 public safety agencies. The agencies boast over 1.2 million connections and continue to expand. The dedicated network features end-to-end encryption and priority and preemption capabilities. It is also prepared to connect more than 75 deployables such as land-based satellite cells-on-wheel (COW) trucks and flying cells-on-wheels. 

First responders have quickly come to appreciate the nationwide LTE enhanced packet core that allows emergency personnel to communicate with each other and side step commercial channels. The system currently has a 3GPP baseline that allows push to talk technology across the network. 

In its short history, FirstNet has been quick to access and respond to consumer needs. It offered discounts to FirstNet providers purchasing compatible smartphones. Responding to the current pandemic, FirstNet launched a COVID-19 dashboard that will help emergency personnel track and coordinate cases. 

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