First responders in Hyndman, Bedford County, are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of a new, purpose-built FirstNet cell site that AT&T turned on this week. This new site, which was announced in July 2018, is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.
“We built this site based on the feedback from local and state first responders who had to manage crises without reliable coverage. First responders in Hyndman and Bedford County now have another tool they can use to keep their communities safe,” said Jim Penna, AT&T’s regional director for External Affairs in Western Pennsylvania. “Our first responders deserve fast, reliable and dedicated coverage when they need it across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting.”
Penna said AT&T announced other purpose-built sites in Huntingdon, Lycoming and Sullivan counties in June 2020.
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’s built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Pennsylvania’s first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Plus, it’s giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.
Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Pennsylvania we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. The build out of the FirstNet platform is currently well ahead of schedule and, in addition to the purpose-built sites, already offers subscribers in Pennsylvania these benefits and more:
Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders an entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.
Unparalleled emergency support – State and local agencies in Pennsylvania on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.
Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies – AT&T also has expanded the benefits of FirstNet for state and local agencies across Pennsylvania – spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 9-1-1 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited plans. This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.
The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet. Where public safety goes, we go. We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Pennsylvania’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Pennsylvania first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”
In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. Residents, visitors and businesses in the area of these new sites can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
AT&T recently announced that the company turned on a new site using Band 14 in Windber that boosts coverage and capacity along SR-56, in the Gallitzin State Forest and along the Somerset / Bedford County border. The company also turned on a new site using Band 14 in Rockwood that boosts coverage and capacity in Rockwood and along SR-653 between Rockwood and New Centerville.
For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com.