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What is FirstNet?

FirstNet is a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders being built and deployed through a first of its kind public-private partnership between the federal government and AT&T. FirstNet offers public safety a communications network built and customized to meet their needs.

The First Responder Network Authority is the federal entity charged with overseeing the creation and delivery of the FirstNet network. Housed within the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the agency’s role is to ensure AT&T delivers on the terms of its contract and creates a network that meets the needs of public safety now and into the future.

FIRSTNET: THE HISTORY OF OUR NATION’S PUBLIC SAFETY NETWORK

The September 11, 2001, attacks were one of the most devastating events in our nation’s history. The tragedy also revealed fundamental problems with the communications systems used by our nation’s first responders. The radio systems police, fire, and paramedics relied on could not easily operate across agencies, and during the crisis, land and mobile phone lines were overwhelmed by a high volume of calls. 

The communications challenges first responders faced on that day were captured in the 9/11 Commission Report. The 2004 report identified gaps in emergency communications and recommended a nationwide network for public safety communications.  

In the years after the report’s release, public safety organizations and associations came together to press Congress to pass legislation establishing a reliable, dedicated and national high-speed network for first responders. 

In 2012, Congress created the First Responder Network Authority as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (PUBLIC LAW 112–96).

The Act that created the First Responder Network Authority required it to engage in an open, transparent, and competitive RFP process for the deployment of the network. Informed by years of public safety consultation and data collection, FirstNet issued its objectives-based RFP in January of 2016. FirstNet awarded an innovative 25-year contract to AT&T in March 2017. 

WHY FIRSTNET?

  • It’s our nation’s public safety wireless broadband network
  • Federally regulated by the First Responder Network Authority
  • There’s no throttling for FirstNet subscribers anywhere in the country
  • FirstNet has the only physically separate network core in the country dedicated entirely to Public Safety, First Responders, and entities who support them 
  • 24x7x365 priority and preemption for first responders
  • Faster than any commercial network*
  • Highly-secure core and available end-to-end encryption
  • Dedicated deployables for service continuity and disaster recovery, to quickly address coverage extension demands triggered by natural or man-made disasters, and for special events planned in advance.
* Based on AT&T analysis of Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence ® data median download speeds for Q1 2020. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission

FIRSTNET MOMENTUM

  • 1.5M+ FirstNet connections
  • 13K+ Public safety agencies and organizations subscribed

Updated: 7/23/2020

FIRSTNET ELIGIBLE USERS

Primary Users are Public Safety Entities that act as first responders, the agencies who are at an emergency scene first. This includes law enforcement, fire protection services, emergency (911) call dispatching and government Public Safety Answering Points, emergency planning and management offices, and ambulance safety services. 

Extended Primary Users are those agencies, organizations, non-profit or for-profit companies that provide public safety services in support of Primary Users. They provide mitigation, remediation, overhaul, clean-up, restoration, or other such services during or after an incident.

  • Fire 
  • Law Enforcement
  • EMS
  • Emergency Management
  • PSAP / 911 Center 
  • Healthcare
  • Utilities
  • Education
  • Security
  • Transportation

Complete list click here

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