In addition to offering quicker communication, FirstNet and AT&T's network will accommodate the latest first responder technology, including wearable sensors and camera-equipped drones.
AT&T will also be given success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to design and build out the network.
AT&T has won a multi-year contract to build a nation-wide high-speed network for first responders and says it will invest $40 billion in building it.
"This step was part of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations on improving the ability of our police, fire, and emergency medical personnel to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions, which is critical to their missions", said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. AT&T's contract will be for a period of 25 years, though obviously it will take some time for the network to be designed, constructed, tested and launched.
"At this point though, we assume that the state plan will meet our needs since we have been very active in the consultation process with FirstNet", she wrote in an email to StateScoop. "This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector". AT&T will be allowed to use the 20 megahertz of spectrum in its commercial network, which is about 13% of its current holdings. "This unique public-private partnership has the potential to bring the next generation of public safety communications to all Americans". FirstNet's spectrum is located in the 700MHz band often used for consumer LTE networks.
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For data and applications, first responders now use commercial networks, which can become quickly congested.
First responders soon will be working with a broadband safety network, more than a decade after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
FirstNet will solve a few problems, AT&T said.
AT&T was selected by FirstNet, which was established by Congress in 2012 to create the network, to help build and maintain the infrastructure. FirstNet gathered industry experts, wireless carriers and first responder leadership and began the hard work of making the PSBN a reality.
AT&T's team includes Motorola Solutions, General Dynamics, Sapient Consulting and Inmarsat Government. "Together, FirstNet and AT&T will move with precision and urgency to deliver this much-needed infrastructure to those who need it the most: our first responders".