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Located in the northern area between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin experiences year-round weather challenges that often complicate communications for first responders. Wisconsin’s first responders also require seamless, interoperable communications during Green Bay Packer football games, on the state’s 11 federally recognized tribal lands, and along the 820 miles of coastlines along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.  

The First Responder Network Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that Wisconsin first responders face. We have been working closely with Wisconsin public safety officials since 2014, capturing their feedback and translating it into the design of the FirstNet network. During the development of state deployment plans, our team worked hand-in-hand with Wisconsin leaders to ensure the plan was customized to address their needs, including:  

  • Expanding wireless coverage in rural, tribal, and underserved areas 
  • Enabling state, local, and federal agencies to effectively communicate and coordinate along Wisconsin’s borders  
  • Increasing capacity during emergencies and natural disasters through the use of deployable network assets 
  • Using existing state infrastructure where necessary and appropriate 

Following this close collaboration, Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin public safety officials more than 25 times. Our engagements in Wisconsin included the Wisconsin EMS Association Annual Expo, a tower groundbreaking with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and planning meetings for the Democratic National Convention. 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.  

Wisconsin's FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor

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This is a great day for first responders across Wisconsin and the residents they serve. By joining the FirstNet network, the Governor has opened the door to enhanced technology that will improve emergency services and response times. From Pleasant Prairie to Cassville and Kewaunee to Webster, this service will help public safety better serve our citizens.

Sheriff Matt Joski
Kewaunee County

FirstNet in Action in Wisconsin

  • The Green Bay Police Department is the main law enforcement agency for the Green Bay Packers football games. Even during big plays when network congestion is the highest, FirstNet gives them faster speeds, better data exchanges, and clearer calls. FirstNet has also made a difference for Green Bay police outside the stadium, like when they tracked a fleeing shooting suspect.
  • The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s in Wisconsin was the first tribe to participate in in-depth discussions with the FirstNet Authority, and they were the first to sign an agreement with AT&T to build a new cell tower on tribal land. This buildout will help both the first responders supporting the Red Cliff Band and the residents who live there.
  • At the 2018 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race in Hayward, the Wisconsin Office of Emergency Communications deployed the state's Site on Wheels trailer along with a FirstNet Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT). With these network assets in place, first responders were able to stay connected and operate even in the most remote areas along the race.