FirstNet Touts 2 New Rural Cell Sites with Band 14
Thursday, May 30, 2019 | Comments

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced two new band 14 cell sites — one on the Red Cliff Reservation in Wisconsin and one in Preston County, West Virginia.

The Red Cliff Reservation site, located on tribal land north of the Legendary Waters Casino & Resort, is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place in Wisconsin, which is bringing increased coverage, capacity and capability to first responders across the state. Additionally, the new FirstNet site will give Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s first responders access to the FirstNet network.

This site will be located near the Apostle Islands in the northern part of the reservation. Public-safety stakeholders identified this location as a prime spot for increased network coverage and capacity to better support emergency communications.

“When emergencies happen, it is critical that tribal law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics have the reliable communications tools they need to keep the tribal members and surrounding community safe while also protecting visitors to tribal lands,” said Theron Rutyna, IT director, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “Breaking ground on this new cell site will not only support the public-safety mission, but it will also pave the way for new technical capabilities and innovations, furthering economic opportunity and extending access to telehealth, online learning and overall communications during emergencies.”

As part of its government program, FirstNet officials consulted with Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to address the public-safety communications needs on the reservation with regard to the deployment of FirstNet.

“The FirstNet Authority is honored to support the responders of the Red Cliff Reservation in their critical, lifesaving work,” said FirstNet Authority Board Member Paul R. Patrick. “We are working hand-in-hand with Red Cliff to understand their needs for the network and are pleased to see them leading the way on FirstNet as the first tribal community to break ground on a new FirstNet site. We look forward to supporting tribal communities from across the country as they use FirstNet to help their first responders save lives and protect communities.”

The second site, located in Fellowsville, is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place in West Virginia, which is bringing increased coverage, capacity and capability to first responders across the state. Based along Route 50, the Preston County site location was identified as a top spot where rural connectivity challenges exist in West Virginia. The critical infrastructure is being built to increase network coverage and capacity to better support first responders as they serve and protect residents and visitors in the area.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was at the Preston County 9-1-1 Center to celebrate the cell site groundbreaking.

“I have long advocated for rural broadband expansion to support our communities and first responders,” said Capito. “This and other sites still in the works will help further extend rural coverage in a way that benefits both public safety and the broader community. When emergencies happen, it is critical that our firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, 9-1-1 telecommunicators and emergency managers all have the communications tools they need to achieve their mission—keeping themselves, West Virginians and our communities safe.”

This is the first new FirstNet site to be publicly announced in West Virginia.

AT&T said the new sites will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. The sites are being constructed using the FirstNet band 14 spectrum, as well as other spectrum bands in the AT&T commercial spectrum portfolio. Communities can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as band 14 when additional capacity is available.

“I am pleased to see FirstNet staying true to its promise of expanding coverage in our area with this new site build,” said Preston County Commission President Dave Price. “As an early adopter of FirstNet, we’ve already experienced the early benefits that this dedicated system is bringing to West Virginia’s first responders. Plus, it’s paving the way for new capabilities and innovations in the way we handle emergencies and serve our community. It’s a true game changer, and this site will help bring us the reliable connectivity needed to take advantage of it.”

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