FirstNet Buildout Nears 70% Completion as Connections Grow
Monday, November 25, 2019 | Comments

The buildout of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) network was at about 66% as of Nov. 13, and AT&T expects to reach 70% buildout of the nationwide broadband network by the end of the year, Igal Elbaz, vice president, wireless technology, AT&T, said during the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference. The next reimbursement milestone for AT&T under its contract with FirstNet is 80%.

For the first nine months of 2019, AT&T spent about $850 million related to the FirstNet build, according to its quarterly 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). During that time period, the carrier received $134 million in reimbursement funds from FirstNet, compared with $336 million that it received in reimbursement during the first nine months of 2018, the filing said.

Connections continue to grow for the network as well. There are more than 900,000 connections on the network and more than 9,800 agencies across the country have signed up for the service, Elbaz said.

“… There’s also momentum with the first responders’ adoption of the network,” Elbaz said. “And we’re seeing this carrying over, carrying on into 2020. There are some new services that we’re going to bring on. Think about mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT). So today, a lot of first responders are using those LMR systems. So, we want to move them into mission-critical push-to-talk over the network.”

AT&T executives have said that the company plans to release MCPTT by the end of the year. An AT&T spokesperson said that AT&T’s comments made in an FCC filing in September still held true. That filing came in an FCC proceeding over whether the FCC should mandate full interoperability between FirstNet and other carrier networks.

“With testing of 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project)-compliant mission-critical push-to-talk technology well underway, AT&T is poised to announce MCPTT services through FirstNet later this year,” the filing said. “To this end, AT&T has released a request for proposals for an interworking gateway function that will terminate standard system interfaces and allow MCPTT to interoperate with existing LMR technologies.”

In January, AT&T said it selected a second MCPTT provider and planned to release MCPTT in the second half of 2019. Motorola Solutions is the first MCPTT provider with its Kodiak carrier-integrated technology, but AT&T has not named the second provider.

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On 11/27/19, DONALD ALEXANDER said:
I have FirstNet. AT&T just turned on a new tower near Rokeby Lock, Ohio. My phone still has no service driving by it. They built a new tower in Philo, Ohio, 1 mile from my house. I still have no service. WHY?


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