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FirstNet Releases New Capabilities to Assist First Responders During COVID-19 Pandemic; Jason Porter, Guy Patterson Quoted

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FirstNet, an AT&T subsidiary, has announced new capabilities to first responders across the country as coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to spread throughout the nation, FirstNet reported on Tuesday.

“Now, agencies spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations can stay up-to-date with smartphones for life at no additional cost and know their responders’ devices are up to the task when the next emergency strikes,” said Jason Porter, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T.

With FirstNet’s solution, FirstNet Ready, the technology will enable agencies to use free smartphone devices to connect them to critical communications when and where they need it. The COVID-19 health crisis has provided nationwide high-speed broadband communications platforms dedicated to America’s first responders.

Developed from the ground up specifically for and with public safety, FirstNet Push-to-Talk (PTT) is the first-ever nationwide mission-critical standards-based push-to-talk solution to launch in the U.S. We tested the FirstNet PTT solution with public safety agencies across the country, including the Cranford Police Department in New Jersey.

“Reliable communication is critical. It must work. It must be there when we need it. And it must be crystal clear because we don’t have time to repeat ourselves or introduce room for errors in fast-changing situations or when lives are on the line. Our experience with FirstNet Push-to-Talk has been excellent. On more than one occasion, FirstNet PTT allowed us to effectively communicate when our traditional systems failed,” said Captain Guy Patterson of the Cranford Police Department.

For first responders serving rural, remote and tribal communities, HPUE could significantly increase the coverage area. For urban and suburban first responders, this could help address the common challenge of indoor or below ground coverage.

The stronger signal will provide increased availability to meet mission needs for users who are connecting from hard-to-reach places like basements, elevators, stairwells, and parking garages, and helping first responders reliably communicate inside and out.

“First responders deserve a dedicated communications partner that can provide the tools they need, when they need them, and that’s exactly what they’re getting with FirstNet,” added Porter.