FirstNet Is Up To The Task During Eclipse

Bill Soards – President, AT&T Indiana
April 15, 2024
Public Safety

FirstNet Is Up To The Task During Eclipse

Hoosiers had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last week to experience a total solar eclipse. While most were busy securing eclipse glasses or identifying the best ways to take photos, our FirstNet® team was busy working alongside public safety agencies to ensure our first responders were ready for any emergency. 

FirstNet, Built with AT&T is the only network built with and for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. On April 8, I got the chance to spend the day with our local FirstNet team, as well as the Integrated Public Safety Commission (IPSC), as they kept a close eye on eclipse-related emergency communications across the state.  

We were so fortunate the eclipse’s “path of totality” stretched across Indiana and included communities like Evansville, Bloomington, Indianapolis, New Castle and Bluffton. Because Bloomington and Monroe County were hotbeds for visitors from around the country who wanted to see as much as possible, FirstNet deployed 2 Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTs) in the area. These mobile cell sites connect to the FirstNet network via satellite, do not rely on commercial power availability, and provide similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower. Another SatCOLT could be found in Noblesville that day.   

Across the country, the FirstNet Response Operations Group (ROG) team responded to more than 85 requests from public safety and first responder agencies. This included advanced planning to optimize the network to enhance coverage and network capacity, as well as deploying public safety’s dedicated FirstNet deployable network assets (like SatCOLTs). In fact, more than a dozen FirstNet assets were deployed to ensure first responders had the reliable connectivity they required.  

Inside the Greenwood IPSC operations center with FirstNet, I monitored the network in real time. I also listened in on regular briefings and information that was being shared from the state’s emergency operations center in Indianapolis. It was fascinating to hear the public safety discussions around the huge number of people who would be hitting the road, to head home, after the eclipse. It was clear to me having FirstNet in the proverbial “room where it happens” helped ensure first responders had the necessary connectivity in their communities.  

When the sun completely disappeared behind the moon around 3 o’clock, I looked up in awe like millions across the state. When I looked back down, and chatted with the public safety personnel around me, it was tremendous to learn the FirstNet network performed well before, during and after the eclipse. That meant our first responders had always-on priority and preemption and dedicated connectivity when they needed it most.   

What a rewarding and memorable day this was. 

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. 

p.after-p sub span { line-height: 20px !important; }