What’s the news?
Wyoming first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T. In addition to constructing new, purpose-built FirstNet sites across the state where first responders said they needed improved coverage, we’re collaborating with Union Telephone Company (Union), a Wyoming-based telecom service provider, to help build out additional Band 14 spectrum and AT&T commercial LTE spectrum bands across more than 150 cell sites in Wyoming. This will help extend FirstNet’s reach in rural and tribal communities across the state, including on the Wind River Reservation.
What is FirstNet?
FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. The FirstNet network is providing first responders with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when and where they need it most, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities help fire, EMS, and law enforcement save lives and protect their communities.
Why is this important?
FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder in Wyoming – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural. By collaborating with local providers, we’re able to use existing infrastructure and benefit from the provider’s local, on-the-ground expertise and experience. The collaboration with local providers is part of our FirstNet buildout strategy to quickly address rural coverage needs and extend the network’s reach, giving more of the public safety community access to their network. After all, emergencies don’t know zip codes.
What are the benefits to first responders?
Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the federal government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. And thanks to the unique qualities of Band 14, FirstNet is the only network where public safety can take advantage of capabilities that other spectrum bands don’t allow. Band 14 is the only LTE band in the U.S. enabled by 3GPP standards for use of High-Powered User Equipment (HPUE) at the highest allowable power levels (Power Class 1). That’s why we launched FirstNet MegaRange™, which provides the greatest benefit in areas where data connectivity is traditionally unreliable, such as remote regions, rural areas and maritime environments. This means first responders can install specially designed FirstNet Ready™ HPUE devices in their ambulances, squad cars, fire trucks and other vehicles and buildings to significantly increase their coverage area in remote locations.
How does this help Wyoming communities?
The expansion of FirstNet and AT&T network infrastructure will help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in Wyoming. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
Why are Union and AT&T collaborating to expand FirstNet coverage?
When Congress passed bipartisan legislation to create FirstNet, they recognized the critical importance of coverage in rural, remote and tribal communities. In addition to building new, purpose-built FirstNet cell sites and deploying Band 14 spectrum on new and existing AT&T cell sites, the law directed the FirstNet network expansion to include collaboration with local service providers and “utilize cost-effective opportunities to speed deployment.” This collaboration is helping to more quickly address rural coverage needs and expand the reach of FirstNet for the public safety community.
Where can I find more information?
What people are saying:
Shirley Bloomfield — CEO of NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association
“From the early days of FirstNet, NTCA and our members encouraged the FirstNet Authority to collaborate with rural providers and leverage existing tower and fiber infrastructure to help build out the FirstNet network in a cost effective and efficient way. I’m glad to see rural companies, like NTCA member, Union in Wyoming, supporting AT&T and the FirstNet Authority’s buildout of Band 14 and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. Rural providers have local expertise and a proven track-record building out broadband in hard-to-serve rural areas.”
Guillermo Lambarri — Director, External Affairs, AT&T Wyoming
“We believe FirstNet is America’s most important wireless network because it is serving our first responders. Collaborating with Union is helping us quickly and effectively reach more of the Wyoming public safety community and helping keep our communities connected.”
Brian Woody — Chief Customer Relations Officer, Union Telephone Company
“When creating FirstNet, Congress recognized the critical importance of delivering reliable connectivity to rural and remote first responders. The Woody family and the entire extended Union family is excited to work with AT&T to quickly expand the reach of public safety’s network throughout Wyoming. We want to help ensure that residents trust their wireless communications to keep them safe as they work, play and thrive in this remote and beautiful region. The Woodys and Union have been providing critical connectivity in Wyoming and in parts of northern Utah and Colorado for over 100 years, and we hope to continue doing so for the next 100 years in collaboration with AT&T.”
Nathan Smolinski — Program Manager, Wyoming Department of Transportation, and designated by the governor as Wyoming’s Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for FirstNet
“This investment is a focused effort to increase connectivity across the state and provide interoperable communications for public safety. As our connectivity needs grow across Wyoming, AT&T and Union Wireless are teaming up to meet the demand An investment of this magnitude is a game changer for Wyoming’s first responders and AT&T and Union Wireless customers all over the state.”
Ed Parkinson — CEO, FirstNet Authority
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety. We worked hand-in-hand with Wyoming’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. A major focus of our collaboration with Wyoming has been identifying and addressing rural coverage priorities. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Wyoming first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them protect their communities.”