First responders to get a dedicated broadband network from AT&T

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FirstNet
Image Credit: AT&T
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In what’s widely being seen as a win for all Americans, AT&T has won a contract to build the first-ever broadband network dedicated solely to first responders.

Read more: Apple fixes 911 bug in iOS software

A nationwide first responder network

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded AT&T the right to build FirstNet, a nationwide 700 MHz LTE network for the exclusive use of first responders in the United States.

FirstNet will give police, fire and emergency medical services personnel (EMS) a streamlined go-to system on which to centralize all their communications.

Currently, our nation’s heroes use more than 10,000 networks for voice communications alone! FirstNet will effectively get first responders off those commercial networks, which can become congested in times of crisis, and onto a dedicated private network.

The idea for FirstNet was born out of the tragedy of 9/11. The horrific events of that day were exacerbated by incompatible communications systems among first responders at a critical time in our nation’s history.

Fortunately, that won’t be an issue going forward. The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. That means all of the country — including remote, rural and even tribal lands — will be covered. Not just metro areas.

Under the terms of the contract, AT&T will spend some $40 billion over the next 25 years to build, operate and maintain the network. The wireless provider will also have the right to sell excess capacity on the system.

Within two years, the network will be 60% complete, one telecommunications analyst recently told investors. By three years, FirstNet will be 80% built out. Full network capacity is expected to ramp up by year four.

Work on the buildout will commence later this year. The network is expected to create 10,000 jobs nationwide over the next few years.

Read more: 6-month-old boy dies after babysitter can’t reach 911 because of mobile network issues

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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