Teeing Up FirstNet for Connectivity

John Emra, President – AT&T Atlantic Region
June 7, 2023
Public Safety

Teeing Up FirstNet for Connectivity

When major golf tournaments are held, most of the attendees and viewers at home don’t give much thought to the amount of work and planning needed to get the course in pristine shape for the world’s best golfers, while also ensuring tens of thousands of spectators are safe every day. Though the events only last a week, it takes months – sometimes longer – to prepare for these major golf tournaments.

One of the golf world’s most popular events was recently held at Oak Hill Golf Club just outside of Rochester, New York. Beginning last October, the organizers closed the course to its members to start growing unforgiving rough that gives the best golfers nightmares, making the greens lightning fast, narrowing fairways to slivers, erecting massive spectator stands, building enormous tents for concessions and merchandise, and identifying the most a strategic location for a COW on the picturesque property… a Cell on Wheels (COW) of course. A COW is a mobile cell site that is used to create or boost cellular connectivity for big events and emergencies when existing wireless infrastructure may not be able to handle a significant influx of users.

FirstNet®, Built with AT&T is the nation’s only high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. In preparation for the tournament, recognizing the significant influx of spectators to the area, the FirstNet team worked with event organizers ahead of time to ensure a state-of-the-art COW and other needed wireless infrastructure were placed in optimal locations so that public safety would have the connectivity they required to keep the more than 50,000 golf enthusiasts from around the world who attended the event safe each day.

Our teams also enabled AT&T customers at the tournament to send real-time videos of their favorite player’s swing, post selfies with golf legends, use the event’s mobile app to navigate the course, or call friends to share highlights from the tournament. And while tournament attendees with AT&T stayed connected, we also delivered reliable and robust connectivity to first responders assigned to the tournament that are on FirstNet.

With FirstNet, first responders have access to Band 14, nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the 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 and locked just for FirstNet users. That means only those on the FirstNet network are able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response.

In addition, FirstNet has an extensive fleet of deployable assets supplement coverage at public events large and small. We are the only carrier with assets dedicated exclusively for public safety’s use and that’s why teams were able to deploy the COW and other deployable infrastructure to help first responders stay connected across the vast property throughout the event.

When word spread that FirstNet was providing robust coverage, the local FirstNet team was approached by various local first responders, including EMTs, ambulance services, law enforcement and other public safety agencies asking for help with connectivity. We swung into action by providing FirstNet Ready® devices so first responders experiencing communications issues at the event could have always-on priority with FirstNet.

When commercial networks aren’t enough, FirstNet is there. We were proud to join with the public safety community to provide connectivity at the golf tournament and look forward to teeing up for the next planned event, no matter the size or situation.

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