AT&T has rolled out Band 14 coverage across more than 2,500 sites across the US as part of its FirstNet build. The process to add Band 14 coverage to an additional 10,000+ sites is also currently underway.

Band 14 is nationwide spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. Once Band 14 is fully deployed over the next several years, it will cover 95 per cent or more of the US population.

Band 14 deployments are underway in 50 states and Puerto Rico. And it’s already on-air for testing in 40+ states. This includes California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas. Band 14 will continue to be rapidly deployed nationwide and submitted to the FirstNet Authority for validation.

More than 1,000 new sites are planned as part of the FirstNet Band 14 build. They are being built to help close rural coverage gaps in areas like Bedford County, Pa., where responses to emergencies have been previously challenged by a lack of connectivity.

AT&T reports that there are currently more than 110,000 connections on the FirstNet network, hailing from nearly 1,500 public safety agencies. It also states that the first FirstNet-dedicated deployable network assets, such as Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLT), are now available. These mobile cell sites can be deployed at the request of subscribing first responder agencies

These were used by first responders during several large Fourth of July celebrations across the country. The City of Chino, Calif., celebrated Independence Day with their annual Freedom Festival – gathering a crowd of approximately 15,000 people. Using a dedicated SatCOLT with Band 14, they trialed FirstNet to keep their officers connected at the furthest edges of the event. With the FirstNet SatCOLT, the Chino Police Department reported a significant reduction in latency of their drone video feed.

“Since getting the green light to deploy Band 14 in March of this year, we’ve been moving quickly to bring first responders the additional coverage and capacity that only their network can provide,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T-FirstNet. “What’s more, the FirstNet build is based off direct feedback from the states and public safety community. So, each current or new site to get Band 14 helps to meet public safety’s specific network needs.”

“It is great to see the incredible strides being made in the initial deployment of public safety’s spectrum,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Mike Poth. “There’s still much work to be done and as the FirstNet buildout continues, we’ll work hand-in-hand with AT&T to ensure that FirstNet’s advancements meet the needs of first responders. No other network can commit to this.”

FirstNet is the nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders, which is being built by AT&T, in public-private partnership with the FirstNet Authority. FirstNet Ready devices with built-in Band 14 access are available to first responders.

FirstNet uses Band 14 deployment, the FirstNet-dedicated deployables, AT&T’s commercial LTE spectrum holdings and existing sites and other technologies, like optional satellite coverage. Once fully built out, it will cover over 99 per cent of the US, in terms of both population and geography.

Author: Sam Fenwick