First reponders across the nation now will have access to a specialized communications network to help them communicate with each other during times of emergency — such as terror attacks, mass shootings, and other events.
FirstNet built by Dallas-based AT&T is the first nationwide public safety communications platform that is dedicated to helping first responders, and is a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority.
“The launch of the network core comes a year into the FirstNet public-private partnership. It’s been a nonstop 12 months.”
“The launch of the network core comes a year into the FirstNet public-private partnership. It’s been a nonstop 12 months. And we’re proud of the quick progress we’ve made in this short timeframe, consistently delivering on or ahead of schedule,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president of AT&T–FirstNet, said in a release. “But bringing the FirstNet network core to life is one of the most exciting milestones yet.”
The First Responder Network Authority was created under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The launch of FirstNet gives first responders their own separate, nationwide broadband network certified by the authority.
AT&T said that the launch of the FirstNet “evolved packet core” is a major breakthrough in public safety communications because it operates like a brain and nervous systems for FirstNet.
The core creates and controls the entire FirstNet experience for subscribers and it processes and carries public safety agencies’ vital information, according to AT&T.
FIRSTNET HELPS OVERCOME OUTDATED COMMUNCATIONS SYSTEMS
“Outdated communications capabilities are a threat to public safety. We’ve seen it repeatedly when disasters strike — from Sept. 11, the Boston Marathon, and Parkland [high school in Florida that was the site of a recent mass shooting],” former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said in the AT&T release.
“With FirstNet, that future is here, giving us an experience we can’t get on any commercial network.”
“We’ve been advocating for the future of communications to bring us a modern solution that will empower us with next generation tools. And with FirstNet, that future is here, giving us an experience we can’t get on any commercial network.”
AT&T has been seeking ways to enhance communications during emergencies for years.
In 2016, the company announced a major upgrade for 911 agencies’ networks with its ESInet, which accelerated adoption of the Next Generation 911 call routing.
The upgrade enabled agencies to better manage 911 calls and automatically handle any overflow of calls between Public Safety Answering Points and disaster recovery sites, AT&T said at the time.
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