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Network Deployment and Adoption

In October 2021, AT&T announced there are more than 18,500 public safety agencies and organizations using more than 2.8 million connections on FirstNet. AT&T also said it had surpassed 95% of its Band 14 coverage target for the network – which remains ahead of schedule. In February 2021, AT&T announced it had added almost 100,000 square miles to the FirstNet network in 2020 for a total of 2.71 million square miles.

The decision to subscribe to FirstNet remains with agencies and is, in part, based on how the agency acquires IT goods and services. FirstNet aims to provide federal agencies with operational value and efficiencies by delivering secure, resilient, interoperable public safety wireless broadband beyond what is currently available.

For more information on FirstNet’s support of federal public safety entities, contact your FirstNet Authority Agency Point of Contact at FederalConsultation@firstnet.gov.

Mission-Ready Communications Tools

The FirstNet Authority engages public safety and AT&T to launch and advance mission-critical services for public safety broadband. Mission-ready tools for FirstNet include:

FirstNet MegaRange™: a high-power user equipment (HPUE) solution exclusively available on Band 14.

Z-Axis for FirstNet: vertical location mapping capabilities, allowing new level of indoor spatial awareness not available using traditional GPS-based location methods.

FirstNet PTT: the first-ever nationwide mission-critical standards-based push-to-talk solution to launch in the U.S. is built to “mission critical” 3GPP standards.

Network Security: FirstNet will be the first-ever network with comprehensive, tower-to-core encryption based on open industry standards (S1U).

FirstNet-Dedicated Deployable Assets

The deployables program is unique to FirstNet. FirstNet deployables boost coverage during disasters, large planned events, or in remote areas — and are available to subscribers 24/7 at no extra cost. These mobile cell sites link to FirstNet via satellite, do not rely on commercial power availability, and provide similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower. Unlike commercial networks, FirstNet deployables have the ability to restrict access to public safety users.

FirstNet adopting agencies can also purchase new or convert existing assets into COAM deployable units. Agencies that own COAM deployables have unlimited use of those assets and work with AT&T to coordinate and mitigate any interference with existing terrestrial coverage when deploying them. In particular, AT&T offers Compact Rapid Deployables, which generate an area of FirstNet cellular and wi-fi coverage. They can be deployed by a single person within minutes, wherever needed.

Engagement with Federal Departments and Agencies

FirstNet Authority’s APOC Group

Over two dozen federal departments and agencies are represented on the FirstNet Authority’s Agency Point of Contact (APOC) group. APOCs engage with the FirstNet Authority on at least a monthly basis. They help distribute information and any requests for data collection and feedback from FirstNet Authority to the agency components and bureaus.

The FirstNet Authority engages the US Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury, as well as the Federal Communications Commission, General Services Administration, and other agencies with a public safety, emergency management, or homeland security mission segment. Contact the Government Engagement Team at GovernmentEngagement@firstnet.gov to learn more about participation in this group.

To learn who in your department or agency is part of the FirstNet Authority’s Agency Point of Contact (APOC) group, or to express interest in learning about or subscribing to FirstNet, please contact FirstNet’s Government Engagement team at GovernmentEngagement@firstnet.gov

FirstNet Authority Governing Bodies

The FirstNet Authority is governed by a 15-member Board that includes the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General of the United States, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and 12 other members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.

Representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Department of Justice (DOJ) are full members of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and serve as co-chairs to FirstNet’s Federal Working Group. The Federal Working Group  brings together the expertise and perspective of Federal partners and provides input to the PSAC’s recommendations to the FirstNet Board.

How the FirstNet Authority can support you

The Government Engagement team works with other federal agencies to discuss opportunities and challenges with public safety broadband. Our team can help answer your questions on:

  • FirstNet eligibility
  • Using existing federal infrastructure
  • FirstNet Authority’s investments in emerging technologies
  • FirstNet Authority’s role in federal policy and standards working groups
  • FirstNet use cases

If you have questions about your agency’s eligibility, please contact GovernmentEngagement@firstnet.gov.