U.S Army Selects FirstNet for Public Safety Communications

What’s the news? The U.S. Army has selected FirstNet to support firefighters, law enforcement and security personnel at 72 Army installations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Now, U.S. Army public safety personnel have access to an unmatched level of support as well as mission-focused tools and technology they can’t get anywhere else. 

What is FirstNet? FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It is built with AT&T* in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority – an independent agency within the federal government.  

Born out of the 9/11 Commission recommendations to enhance communications across the entire public safety community, it’s bringing public safety communications into the 21st century with new, innovative capabilities to strengthen first responders’ incident response. And more than 13,000 federal, state, local, municipal and tribal public safety agencies and organizations have subscribed to FirstNet, accounting for more than 1.5 million connections.

Why is this important? FirstNet can help the Army ensure reliable, highly secure communications capabilities during national emergencies such as supporting the nation’s response to the Coronavirus and improved communications interoperability between base first responders and local, state and federal first responder agencies. 

What is AT&T providing? Under the Task Order, AT&T is delivering nearly 3,200 lines of FirstNet services, more than 3,000 FirstNet-capable devices and 700+ signal boosters to help improve indoor connectivity. We are also providing staging and kitting of devices, including preloading multiple FirstNet apps on the devices. In addition, with FirstNet, the U.S. Army has access to a dedicated nationwide fleet of 76+ land-based and airborne portable cell sites stationed across the country to provide connectivity during significant events in support of public safety’s mission. These critical response assets are available 24/7 to the U.S. Army’s Incident Commanders at no additional charge. 

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Why did the Army choose FirstNet? The Army explored the benefits of FirstNet during a pilot program in Spring 2020 at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, NC. The Ocean Terminal is part of the Army’s Materiel Command’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC). The Army also evaluated FirstNet’s capabilities with its fire and military police responders under storm conditions to better understand how they could benefit from FirstNet. The pilot allowed the Army to see the benefits of in-building signal boosters as well as FirstNet’s ease of use, resilience and the breadth of capabilities that could be available to each Army installation regardless of size or location. 

More recently, when Hurricane Laura hit the Army’s Fort Polk in Louisiana on August 27 with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles-per-hour, it carved a path through and around the installation, taking down trees and power lines and cutting communications. The Army tested FirstNet Ready™ wireless routers installed in camera-equipped vehicles that provided Army operations and planners with near real time delivery of video despite the extreme weather conditions. They agreed the solution proved to be an effective means to support incident management and restore base operations following a natural disaster. 


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