Saturday, April 1, 2017

FirstNet Picks AT&T for roll-out of National First Responder Network

AT&T has been selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America's police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) that will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands.

The communications infrastructure to be provided by AT&T will support the millions of first responders and public safety personnel nationwide. The public-private infrastructure investment is expected to create around 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years, with the roll-out scheduled to begin later in 2017.

AT&T noted that first responders currently use commercial networks, which can suffer from congestion, and utilise over 10,000 different networks for voice communications that may not interoperate. FirstNet is aiming to address these limitations.

For the project AT&T will create a national IP-based, high-speed mobile communications network for first responders designed to improve rescue and recovery operations, more effectively connect first responders to the information they need, support public safety initiatives based on IoT and smart city solutions and enable the use of new capabilities such as wearable sensors and cameras.

Under the terms of the 25-year agreement between FirstNet and AT&T:

1. FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network build-out, with the funding raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions.

2. AT&T will spend approximately $40 billion over the term of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring reliable coverage for public safety users.

3. AT&T will also connect FirstNet users to the company's telecom network assets.

In addition, FirstNet and AT&T will seek to develop the network in line with technology advances, for example, to leverage 5G network capabilities as they become available over the next few years.

To help FirstNet achieve its public safety objectives, AT&T has assembled a team of partners that includes Motorola Solutions, General Dynamics, Sapient Consulting and Inmarsat Government.