FirstNet, America's public safety network dedicated to first responders, has launched in Guam, the CNMI and American Samoa, providing them access to high-speed broadband communications platform.
"This is equipping firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics, 911 telecommunicators, emergency managers and other public safety personnel with unthrottled access to the interoperable communications they need, no matter the emergency," Jason Porter, senior vice president of FirstNet Program at AT&T wrote on the company's website.
"By collaborating with local network providers in the region, we’ve extended the reach of FirstNet to provide first responders in the Pacific territories mobile services with always-on priority and preemption capability," Porter said.
In July last year, Docomo Pacific was selected by AT&T to help support the deployment of FirstNet in both Guam and the CNMI.
"Based on the collaboration with AT&T, Docomo Pacific will provide access to its existing LTE network coverage and capacity while helping to build out additional LTE coverage with the Band 14 spectrum," Docomo stated in a press release. "Docomo Pacific is an authorized member of AT&T's FirstNet Dealer Program, which means it can sell FirstNet services to eligible first responders."
In American Samoa, AT&T has teamed up with the American Samoa Telecommunication Authority for FirstNet's deployment.
FirstNet delivers a single, nationwide network platform that's purpose-built to enhance communications across the entire public safety community. FirstNet is available to all first responders - career and volunteer, urban, rural or tribal.
The FirstNet Authority was created in 2012 as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which allocated 20 megahertz of spectrum and $7 billion to establish a broadband network dedicated to the nation's first responders.
FirstNet Authority has awarded AT&T a $6.6-billion contract in 2017 to build the network.
According to FirstNet Authority's website, the network has 11,000 public safety agencies and military organizations have subscribed to FirstNet since its launch in March 2018.
"And just in time for typhoon season, we are adding three on-island portable cell sites, one per territory, to our FirstNet fleet of dedicated deployable network assets to support public safety agencies in the territories," Porter wrote. "Just like the other 76 deployables, these assets are available to FirstNet subscribers at no additional charge for planned and emergency events."
Porter said said FirstNet assets have already helped provide the same reliable communications in the Pacific as in the states throughout the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.
"In support of the U.S. Navy/USS Theodore Roosevelt in Santa Rita, Guam, a dedicated FirstNet portable cell site was deployed to provide additional coverage," he said.
The coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier docked at Apra Harbor from March 27 to May 21. More than 1,200 sailors with Roosevelt were infected with Covid-19.
"This exemplifies the need and importance of having a network purpose-built for public safety. As America’s first responders traverse the country and its territories, they know they can turn to their network for the connectivity they need," Porter said.
"FirstNet is bringing the Pacific territories’ public safety community a level of connectivity and advanced capability that’s helping to transform the role communications plays in their response. And knowing our first responders have access to the leading tools to help them do their important jobs is something we can all feel good about."
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