AT&T Delivers 72 Deployable Assets to FirstNet
Friday, October 05, 2018 | Comments

AT&T announced it deployed the full fleet of 72 dedicated deployable network assets for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Stationed across the country, these assets can either be deployed for planned events or called on during emergencies to help first responders stay connected and operate more effectively.

In 2018, AT&T FirstNet said it has supported nearly 100 emergency and event response efforts via asset deployments and other solutions. This includes active shooter situations, tornadoes in the east, wildfires across the western states, and most recently, deployments for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions and Hurricane Florence.

“Hurricane Florence devastated several South Carolina communities, leaving behind dangerous flooding and an aftermath we’ll be dealing with long after the water recedes,” said Pickens County Emergency Management Deputy Director Pierce Womack. “Throughout it all, FirstNet has been with us every step of the way to provide our first responders with reliable connectivity and 24/7 support. The service has been aiding in our rescue and recovery from the storm, giving us a leg up to provide the best possible service to the citizens in need. It’s critical situations like these which show FirstNet’s dedication in supporting emergency services.”

The FirstNet-dedicated assets, such as satellite cell on light trucks (SatCOLTs), are mobile cell sites that link to FirstNet via satellite and do not rely on commercial power availability. They provide first responders with similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower.

The 72 FirstNet-dedicated deployables are available 24/7 at the request of FirstNet subscribers. AT&T said its response operations program aligns with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to better guide the deployment of these assets. This prioritizes deployments based on their situational awareness of life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation. More than 40 sites nationwide house the 72 deployables dedicated to FirstNet subscribers, enabling a 14-hour delivery window following the initial emergency request.

“These dedicated deployable network assets are just one more unique tool we can equip first responders with to help them stay connected during events and incidents,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T FirstNet. “Hurricane Florence tested this capability. In the course of seven days, the AT&T FirstNet team managed 25 different support requests around the storm to assist with rescue and recovery. When other systems went down, FirstNet stayed up.”

In addition to the FirstNet-dedicated fleet, public-safety subscribers will be able to tap into assets, as available, from the AT&T fleet, which is one of the nation’s largest disaster response programs.

The deployables were all delivered as of Sept. 30, meeting a key milestone for FirstNet. As part of the validation process, FirstNet observed a hands-on demonstration of the capabilities and functionality of the dedicated deployables for FirstNet subscribers’ use. “Public safety underscored the value of having on-demand access to their own fleet of dedicated deployable assets, which helps ensure FirstNet is available when they need it most,” said FirstNet Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Operations Officer Jeff Bratcher. “That’s why this was a core requirement built into the FirstNet RFP, and AT&T continues to hit the mark on delivering the purpose-built solutions first responders called for.”

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