FirstNet reaches key milestone; adds blimp


FirstNet has reached a million subscribers across ten thousand public safety agencies, according to a statement released by the network.

The news comes following the completion of 75 per cent of the organisation’s coverage target for public safety Band 14 spectrum. This includes “every major city from coast to coast, as well as rural towns and tribal areas like White Earth Reservation [in Minnesota].”
As well as the increase in subscribers, the FirstNet Authority has also announced the launch of a 55-foot aerostat (ie, a blimp) known as FirstNet One. The asset – which can stay in the air for two weeks at a time - will be used to provide coverage during "large scale catastrophic events," and is capable of withstanding wind-speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.
Speaking of network progress, AT&T’s senior vice president for the FirstNet programme Jason Porter, said: “We’re honoured to see FirstNet play a supporting role in [emergency services] response for thousands of agencies across the country.
“FirstNet is specifically designed to advance public safety communications, equipping first responders with innovative, mission-focused tools, technologies and features they can’t get anywhere else.”

Ed Parkinson of the FirstNet Authority said:“Since its launch, FirstNet has created a dedicated marketplace for public safety broadband communications that never existed before, and we are only scratching the surface on the innovations this network is driving.

“We look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand with public safety and AT&T as we head into a new year of network expansion and growth.”

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Philip Mason
Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216