FirstNet on track for November award

FirstNet board gives thumbs up to 5G, deployables investment

The First Responder Network Authority Board this week announced new investments in FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network. It approved more than $200 million for initial network upgrades to pave the way for 5G and expand its fleet of deployable assets.

During its June 17 quarterly meeting, the board approved the issuance of two task orders to AT&T to initiate a generational upgrade the network core to support 5G services such as connected vehicles, augmented reality, drone video and sensors. In addition to greater device capacity, the 5G architecture will break the network into smaller segments that will be located closer to edge devices and applications. This puts users nearer to computing capacity and lowers latency and creates more resiliency, redundancy, security, making advanced, data-rich applications possible.

The second task order will increase the number of land- and air-based moveable cell sites. FirstNet currently has 72 deployables and expects demand to grow as more public safety organizations adopt FirstNet for better emergency response.

“These investments mark the next major step in our mission as we continue to evolve the FirstNet network based on public safety’s needs,” FirstNet Authority Board Chair Edward Horowitz said. “The Board’s actions set the network on a path to 5G and will boost on-demand coverage for public safety. We look forward to delivering on these advancements for public safety and working to identify our next network investment opportunities.”

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