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New York City, in addition to being a world cultural and financial center, is where the need for FirstNet really became clear with the attacks on September 11, 2001. Today, New York State has a population of nearly 20 million people, is home to the nation’s third-largest economy, and borders five other states and Canada. The state features not only huge urban and suburban centers, but vast portions that are rural and remote — challenging first responders for coverage, connection, and interoperability across geographic and jurisdictional borders. 

The First Responder Network Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that New York first responders face. We have been working closely with New York public safety officials since 2014, capturing their feedback and working with AT&T to improve the design of the FirstNet network. During the development of state deployment plans, our team worked hand-in-hand with New York leaders and AT&T, our network partner, to ensure the plan was customized to address public safety’s needs, including:  

  • Expanding coverage in rural areas like the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains, in urban areas with significant capacity requirements and subway systems, and along waterways like the Great Lakes and Long Island Sound 
  • Improving interoperability to support better coordination with border states and Canada 
  • Offering feature-rich services at competitive prices for all first responder users 

Following this close collaboration, New York chose to adopt the plan and “opt in” to FirstNet. Today, we continue to meet regularly with state and local officials to discuss their public safety broadband needs. In 2019 alone, our team met with New York public safety officials 45 times. Our engagements in New York included the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee Board Meetings, the FirstNet Educational Forum for First Responders, and a drone demonstration with the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Engagements like these are crucial to the ongoing success of the network and the advancement of public safety communications across the state and the nation. 

Connect with our team of Public Safety Advisors to learn about FirstNet in your community. 

New York's FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor

David Cook headhsot
David Cook

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Congestion on wireless networks has a negative impact on our operation. With a system like FirstNet that builds in priority and preemption, this allows us to communicate without being disrupted if the system is overloaded by other users.

Chief Brian Owens
Troy Police Department

FirstNet in Action in New York

  • Today’s firefighters must maintain connectivity, whether the mission takes them into remote wilderness areas or dense urban buildings. These places can be at the edges of where networks reach. By boosting signal strength, high-power user equipment on FirstNet helps firefighters stay connected wherever the call takes them.
  • For the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department, FirstNet is a critical supplement one of the most complex wireless radio systems in New York. FirstNet extends coverage to places in New York that historically lacked portable radio coverage, enhancing the connectivity for officers assigned to the New York City subway system and increasing interoperability with partners throughout the state.   
  • As broadband becomes more prevalent in public safety communications, the FirstNet Authority offers the After Action Review (AAR) program — a free service available to any FirstNet subscribing agency to capture best practices and lessons learned related to event planning, logistics, operations, and technology use. The AAR program has made a positive impact on communications usage at events such as the New York International Air Show.
  • Officers with the Troy Police Department in New York rely on FirstNet for a differentiated emergency communications experience in the city’s densely populated urban setting. FirstNet’s priority and preemption service allows officers to stay connected, make calls, and send and receive information securely without signal delay or disruption.