FirstNet, Built with AT&T is Connecting More First Responders Across Virginia

AT&T Blog Team
November 21, 2022
Broadband Access and Affordability, Public Safety


FirstNet, Built with AT&T is Connecting More First Responders Across Virginia

New mobile broadband site turned on in Monterey, Highland County

What’s the news? AT&T* is America’s public safety communications partner. In the 5 years since we were selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to build and operate FirstNet®, we have moved quickly to bring more coverage, boost capacity and drive new capabilities for Virginia’s first responders and the communities they serve.

With FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s why we are building out our network with direct feedback from public safety and local stakeholders. This feedback has been instrumental in deploying Band 14 spectrum across Virginia. And it’s helped to launch new purpose-built FirstNet sites in rural and remote areas where emergency responses have been previously challenged, including a new site in Monterey, Highland County that has added coverage along Mountain Turnpike in Monterey.

Counties across the state currently benefitting from this new, purpose-built infrastructure include Alleghany, Carroll, Craig, Fairfax, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson, Highland, Loudoun, Page, Patrick, Prince William and Washington Counties. These new sites will help improve the overall coverage and network capacity experience for public safety on FirstNet and AT&T wireless customers in the areas. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14, when additional capacity is available.

First responders in more than 130 communities across Virginia are using FirstNet, Built with AT&T to stay mission ready. Since launching FirstNet, we’ve expanded our coverage across Virginia. And with Band 14 deployed on more than 1,000 sites statewide, first responders in communities across the Commonwealth are benefitting from the truly dedicated coverage and capacity it provides when they need it.

But we aren’t stopping there. The FCC estimates that over 10,000 lives could be saved each year if public safety were able to reach callers just 1 minute faster. And since 80% of wireless calls take place indoors, in-building dedicated public safety connectivity is essential to public safety operations and overall safety. That’s why we are collaborating with the Safer Building Coalition, the nation’s leading industry advocacy group focused on advancing policies, ideas, and technologies that ensure effective in-building communications capabilities for public safety personnel and the people they serve.

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 FirstNet Authority – an independent agency within the federal government.

With more than 23,000 agencies and organizations – accounting for more than 4 million connections nationwide1 – the FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to help fire, EMS, law enforcement and more save lives and protect their communities.

Why is this important? No connection is more important than one that could help save a life. Today, FirstNet is solving for common and long-standing communications challenges that first responders face – things like interoperability, network congestion and commercial network providers slowing public safety’s data connection. FirstNet is giving them superior coverage for day-to-day response and life-saving missions. While commercial wireless offerings remain available to public safety, FirstNet continues to grow because it offers distinct advantages from those commercial offerings. FirstNet comes with unique features, functionality and dedicated spectrum when needed for the public safety community. That’s why public safety fought for their own, separate, dedicated platform, championing the vision that led to the creation of FirstNet.

How does this help bridge the digital divide? The FirstNet network expansion is one way we are helping ensure all of public safety – and the communities they serve – have access to critical connectivity to help meet the urgent challenges of today and tomorrow. We already cover more than 99% of the U.S. population today, but FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural.

Where can I find more information? For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com. And go here for more FirstNet news.

What people are saying:

Vince Apruzzese
President, AT&T Virginia

“FirstNet, Built with AT&T gives first responders the tools they need to safely and effectively achieve their mission. The FirstNet network built specifically for public safety helps first responders in Virginia and across the country do their jobs safely and effectively.  Virginia was the first state to opt into FirstNet in 2017, and we’ve been working closely with first responders statewide since day one.”

Lisa Casias
CEO, FirstNet Authority

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety. We worked hand-in-hand with Virginia’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this new infrastructure is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting the Commonwealth’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect our communities.”


1 As of Q3 2022 

*About AT&T Communications

We help family, friends and neighbors connect in meaningful ways every day. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to mobile video streaming, we @ATT innovate to improve lives.

AT&T Communications is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). For more information, please visit us at att.com.

FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks and service marks of the First Responder Network Authority. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.