Prioritizing Public Safety at the International Balloon Festival

February 1, 2018
By Jacque Miller-Waring, FirstNet Region 6 Lead

During the 2017 International Balloon Festival, at the exact moment when hundreds of brightly colored balloons were released into Albuquerque’s clear blue skies, tens of thousands of spectators simultaneously posted photos, videos and social media updates to share with friends and family.

For area law enforcement and public safety officials who rely on the same bandwidth to communicate and maintain safety, ordinarily they would experience clogged networks causing signal delay or failure, making their already difficult jobs nearly impossible to perform.

But communicating and sharing information became much easier at the 2017 event thanks to the availability of prioritized access for first responders using AT&T’s LTE broadband network.  Instead of slow or lost signals that often occur during large events, law enforcement and public safety officials covering the festival got enhanced coverage, connectivity and capacity over the network.

“We need to make sure that when our first responders and our law enforcement officials that are here protecting the public key up, they have communication on their devices,” says Peter Ambs, Director of Innovation and Technology Department, CIO, City of Albuquerque. “We want to be able to have a network that is responsive to our public safety, and FirstNet will provide that capability."

To learn more about how the network enhanced public safety services at the event, please see the following video, which features testimonials from first responders at the festival.

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