FirstNet exercise (First Responder Network Authority/YouTube)

FirstNet board authorizes core upgrades to prep for 5G

The FirstNet Board signed off on investments to upgrade the FirstNet core to enable 5G network capabilities.

To keep the nationwide public safety broadband network current with advances in networking features, functions and capabilities, the board announced it would initiate efforts for a multi-year next-generational upgrade for FirstNet so it will be 5G ready. The investment will ensure FistNet enjoys parity with commercial networks and can take advantage of  improved capabilities afforded by the high-throughput, low-latency technology. 

The board also approved recommendations to increase and optimize the fleet of deployables to address varying operational needs, staging locations and technology options. The current FirstNet fleet includes 72 dedicated assets with both satellite and terrestrial backhaul capacity, strategically prepositioned to provide temporary coverage at no cost to subscribers wherever necessary. The deployables provide links to FirstNet and help localities with communications for initial disaster response and recovery operations. They can also add capacity in constrained areas and can restore coverage in areas hit by outages.

Both investments are in line with the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, which reflects public safety’s critical needs for the network as well as technology trends for mobile broadband communications.

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