9 Reasons FirstNet Is The Future for Public Safety Communication

During the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, major flaws in cellular communications for first responders were realized:

  • First responders to unable to communicate with each other with ease because civilian traffic was being utilized and clogging up wireless networks
  • Public safety agencies found it difficult to communicate with each other due to everyone having a different system or format

Enter FirstNet, the First Responder Network Authority, created in 2012. FirstNet is a nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. At present, FirstNet is provided by AT&T, utilizing cellular Band 14. The FirstNet core is built on a different hardware system from AT&T’s commercial network. This allows FirstNet traffic to be separated from AT&T commercial traffic. Now first responder communications have “their own dedicated lane”, whether voice, text or data. With respect to the different agencies using unlike communications methods, making coordination of efforts difficult if not impossible, now there is a single, nationwide, interoperable broadband network for all first responders.

With respect to reliability, FirstNet subscribers will be supported by a US based 24/7/365 customer support network. FirstNet is also supported by the largest disaster recovery program in the country.

FirstNet is also the only broadband network bonded under a federal contract. This should mean that the network is being build according to public safety needs, and not corporate policy.

Both individual officers and entire agencies can sign up respectively. There is a monthly subscription for the service.

Many equipment manufacturers are producing FirstNet ready products including Sierra Wireless, CradlepointGetacZebraPanasonic and Durabook.

9 Reasons FirstNet Is The Future for Public Safety Communication:

1. Built For Public Safety Professionals – FirstNet is the first nationwide broadband network built specifically for public safety. FirstNet and the public safety community will continue to collaborate to successfully deploy and improve the FirstNet network.

2. Exclusive Band for Public Safety – Today, first responders share commercial networks with all users. With FirstNet, when a crisis happens, first responders will have their own separate band where only FirstNet traffic will move increasing security and lessening congestion.

3. Prioritization – FirstNet prioritization moves first responders to the front of the communications line, while shifting non-emergency traffic to another line. FirstNet has no throttling on the network and prioritization has no speed limits on voice, text or data.

4. Nationwide Shared Network – In our current structure, first responders rely on over 10,000 separate networks for communications often making it difficult if not impossible to communicate during emergencies. FirstNet offers a single, nationwide network to help overcome this communication challenge.

5. Partnerships – Rural wireless carries and FirstNet will partner to bring areas that normally would have to wait for coverage more accessibility and reliability in a faster timeframe. Rural wireless carriers will account for more than 20% of FirstNet’s coverage.

6. 24/7 Customer Support – Subscribers to FirstNet will have dedicated US based support with a toll free number and emergency routing during crisis situations.

7. Disaster Recovery Support – FirstNet support includes the largest on the ground network disaster recovery (NDR) program in the country which offers technology recovery to restore services, emergency communication equipment, HAZMAT Response Teams.

8. Public Safety First – Public safety can rest assured that their network is being built according to their needs and is not being subjected to corporate policy shifts since it is the only broadband network bonded by a federal regulator.

9. Roadmap Ahead – Currently, FirstNet does not include mission critical voice capabilities and as such should not replace land mobile radios (LMRs). FirstNet has a 5-year roadmap to deliver: MCPTT voice, data, messaging and video, broadcast technology and z-Axis location-based services. FirstNet is also exploring how to include drones as part of the FirstNet toolkit.


If you have questions or need to get your organization on FirstNet give us a call. We can walk you through the best devices available and how to get and stay on the network.

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