Industry News

AT&T Makes $46.5 Billion Deal to Build First Responder Infrastructure


As it currently stands, first responders across the United States use a hodgepodge of networks to communicate between roughly 10,000 different systems that – most times – turn out to be incompatible with one another. This presents a host of challenges even during calm times, let alone in an emergency. Following the events of September 11th in 2001, President George W. Bush announced the government’s intentions to build a new means of communication between first responders, in case of a similar events. It was determined, following the chaos that erupted in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, that a new broadband system would need to be developed and implemented that could simplify communication between members of both groups.

Unfortunately, it’s been fifteen years and the system had yet to be implemented… until today. It has been formally announced that AT&T will build a $46.5 billion wireless broadband network with the government service FirstNet, giving First Responders all across the country the simple and crucial ability to communicate with one another on a dedicated line. This measure is done to increase first responders ability to communicate in case of a sudden emergency or crisis, and will help them cut through the chaos to save lives.

US Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure.  This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector.” Speaking about the program and what it could mean for the future of the service and the good it could do for the country, senior media advisor at FirstNet told Homeland Prep News that “FirstNet is going to really revolutionize the communications technology for first responders… Our next-generation technology isn’t just going to save lives, but it’s going to keep our first responders safer and make our communities safer, because it’s going to provide extra situational awareness for people out in the field.”

The current deal extends through twenty-five years, and the agreement promises to be a boon for both private and public sectors: FirstNet will provide 20MHz of the 700MHz band of high-quality telecommunications spectrum. They will also spend roughly $6.5 billion over the next five years, to help support the network build out. AT&T will spend roughly $40 billion over the course of the quarter century towards building, deploying, operating, and maintaining the network itself. This includes a focus on ensuring a wide breadth of coverage across the country in the name of greater public safety. AT&T will also allow FirstNet users to have access to the already established AT&T telecommunications network assets, which is currently valued over $180 billion.

These developments promise a major expansion for jobs within the telecommunications industry, as well as a promise of improved lines of communication between some of the most important members of our police and firefighting services. Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, made the announcement and said, “We are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America’s police, firefighters and EMS that is second to none.  This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority.”

Source: FirstNet Partners with AT&T to Build Wireless Broadband Network for America’s First Responders



About Brandon Zachary

Brandon Zachary is the editor and head writer for - helping you keep posted on the newest shifts and changes in the world of telecommunications and wireless technology.

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