Momentum continues on AT&T’s network build and FirstNet public safety communications initiative.
The operator said there are 425,000 FirstNet subscribers across 5,250 public safety agencies, a 60 percent jump in connections since October.
As part of the effort, AT&T has deployed Band 14 in more than 500 markets, expanding the LTE coverage footprint by about 50,000 square miles. Less than a year in, AT&T is moving quickly and said the project (which is a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority) is months ahead of schedule, currently meeting 40 percent of this year’s rural and urban coverage targets.
“FirstNet is advancing quickly – both in terms of progress and adoption,” said FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson in a statement. “With the Band 14 buildout validated thus far, we’re pleased that more first responders in rural and urban areas have even more access to the connectivity and modern communications tools they need.”
AT&T says it has three main focus areas for building out the FirstNet communications platform:
- Connecting rural and remote responders
- Increasing capacity for urban responders
- Keeping public safety connected using solutions like AT&T’s nationwide fleet of 72 FirstNet dedicated deployable assets
Though Band 14 is dedicated to FirstNet first responder subscribers, the spectrum will help boost coverage and capacity for AT&T subscribers when it’s not being utilized for public safety.
In addition to Band 14, the operator is simultaneously deploying AWS and WCS spectrum on towers as part of its “one truck roll” strategy.
Marachel Knight, SVP of wireless and access engineering, construction and operations at AT&T, said in a statement that by year’s end AT&T anticipates a 50 percent bump in network capacity since 2017.