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What is FirstNet?

Public safety agencies across the United States are looking to use dedicated Public Safety networks such as FirstNet to help keep First Responders safe and save lives. 

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) of the United States was created under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (MCTRJCA) as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The purpose of FirstNet is to establish, operate, and maintain an interoperable public safety broadband network.

To fulfill these objectives, Congress allotted $7 billion and 20 MHz of valuable radio spectrum to build the network. AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the 25 year exclusive contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety users. Additionally, AT&T will connect FirstNet users to the company’s telecommunications network assets, valued at more than $180 billion. 

During emergencies, public safety needs to be able to communicate without interruption - lives depend on it. It is critical that our nation’s law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics and other responders have True Priority for their daily and emergency communications needs. This is why FirstNet is deploying a wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.  

Through the FirstNet network, public safety will have prioritized communications over a reliable, hardened LTE network. With this connection, our nation’s public safety personnel  will be able to share videos, images, text messages, location information and other data to help them do their jobs safer and more efficiently.

FirstNet’s prioritized network for public safety will be especially important during large emergencies when wireless traffic is concentrated in specific areas. Consumers may overload commercial wireless networks to call for help or let their family and friends know they are safe. At this point, capacity on commercial wireless networks can become insufficient for public safety’s needs.

The FirstNet network will provide first responders with True Priority. This means that public safety will have a connection when they need it most.

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