FirstNet’s Uplift Tool Offers Temporary Priority Service for Specific Devices
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 | Comments
A First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) executive offered details on the FirstNet uplift request features of the local control portal available to FirstNet subscribers. The uplift request tool offers local public-safety officials the ability to uplift a device’s priority level during emergencies or incidents.

The local control portal is available to subscribers of the FirstNet service through AT&T’s network. After logging in, users have access to several tools from network status to managing services and apps to reporting tools.

Access to the uplift request tool is given to specific people when they sign up for service through AT&T. An agency’s FirstNet administrator provisions the tool and allows individuals within an agency to access it.

The tool allows the administrator to uplift the priority level of a specific device with a FirstNet subscriber identity module (SIM). The uplift grants the highest levels of priority and pre-emption. For example, utilities are extended primary users on the FirstNet network and don’t have priority and pre-emption on a daily basis. However, utility devices could be uplifted during an ice storm so those users have priority communications to help restore power.

Jennifer Harder, FirstNet senior product director, emphasized that the tool uplifts a device, not a user. So, if an officer has three devices, the administrator would uplift all three devices depending on the situation.

The default time period for the uplift is four hours, but the range is one to 24 hours. The customer telephone number (CTN) is used for the uplift. Routers or other devices can be uplifted through their CTNs.

Any FirstNet device is eligible for uplift, which is in effect nationwide. In addition to extended primary users, planned events are another strong use case for the tool. Administrators should consider governance, policy, training and future enhancements.

Another tool in the local control portal is the network status tool, which was developed by AT&T to enhance situational awareness during emergencies. The tool allows an administrator to view the status of the network and other features.

The user can view established network coverage, the current status of the network and real-time information about the network. FirstNet subscribers can view network alerts and subscribe to alerts, see traffic and weather, and view wind, flood and fire warnings.

The wind and flood warnings are at the county level, but fire warnings are not county restricted.

An Aug. 30 webinar hosted by the National Information Sharing Consortium provided information on the local control portal. A recording of the webinar is available here.

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On 9/12/18, John Roberts said:
We've been told that only devices with FirstNet subscriber identity modules (SIMs) can be uplifted. Fair enough, but we are also told that devices with FirstNet SIMs don't get priority and pre-emption yet in most parts of the country and to use an AT&T SIM. We had an incident on a large holiday with heavy network traffic, and none of this worked. On top of that, even a device with a FirstNet SIM said it was ineligible to be uplifted. I'll believe this when I see it. Until then, buyer beware.


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