AT&T FirstNet Opens to Volunteer First Responders
Thanks to AT&T, volunteer, part-time, and on-call first responders now have access to the FirstNet communications system. FirstNet is AT&T’s dedicated cell network that’s available only to first responders during emergencies. It lets these workers directly communicate with each other using FirstNet-compatible phones. Until recently, this service was only available to full-time first responders in larger cities. Thanks to AT&T, the network is open to all first responders, which improves emergency services across the country.
AT&T was inspired to develop its FirstNet network after noting the difficulties some first responders had during emergency situation, including school shootings. These tragic often result in different agencies responding to the scene. With each department or agency on a different radio, coordination between everyone became difficult. Some departments and personnel tried using their cellphones, but found the lines clogged by other people calling in to find out news of their loved ones.
AT&T recognized the difficulties that first responders faced, the corporation set out to provide a better emergency communication system. Given its vast experience in all things communications, the corporation obtained a contract from the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to make FirstNet. AT&T installed FirstNet towers all across the country. While the solution worked great for those who were granted access, this arrangement left out volunteer, part-time, and on-call responders who pay for their own cell phone plans.
AT&T officials quickly realized that volunteer first responders needed access to FirstNet as much as their big city counterparts. AT&T quickly fixed this by opening up the FirstNet system to volunteer, on-call, and part-time emergency workers. AT&T hasn’t stated how this is possible. It’s likely that volunteer responders must provide a letter from their municipality or safety agency to gain FirstNet access. Whichever way it happens, the important thing is that it’s happening. This means that all community first responders have access to this emergency communications system.
This latest improvement is one of many that AT&T has in store for FirstNet. The corporation will continue to build and improve upon this emergency communications service. Fine-tuning all existing FirstNet towers for improved performance is one of the first things AT&T is doing. It also has plans to install more towers in new areas. This will likely improve service for first responders and even regular AT&T customers. This is good news for everyone!
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