Technology Blog

COVID-19 has irrevocably altered the way we live, work and play as a nation. As the majority of us shelter in place to help flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus, America’s first responders – emergency management services, law enforcement, military, fire and paramedics – are on the front lines facing off against this pandemic.

As public safety’s network partner serving all 56 states and territories, we’re proud to work alongside these brave men and women to help ensure they have the critical connectivity they need. FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It’s a humbling responsibility, and also a personal one.

Growing up with an uncle in law enforcement inspired me to serve, leading me to become a tank platoon and mortar platoon leader in the U.S. Army. It was during this time while stationed at Fort Hood, I observed the 9/11 terrorist attacks and then later learned about the communications challenges that prompted the creation of FirstNet in the days and weeks that followed this tragedy. As a platoon leader in the field responsible for the lives of others, I understand firsthand just how critical effective communication is on the frontlines. It’s one of the reasons I am so honored to carryout public safety’s vision of a dedicated communications ecosystem.

Serving public safety is our mission. Before FirstNet, law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies in disparate jurisdictions struggled to reliably communicate. But now, that is all changing. FirstNet is an entire communications ecosystem, giving our first responders mission-centric devices, applications and unique features – all with congressional oversight. And it’s all interoperable. Agencies of all sizes serving in all capacities – city, state, tribal and federal – have a single, nationwide network purpose-built with them, for them.

And we’re steadfast in our determination to deliver the best tools and solutions for public safety’s life-saving missions. From growing our nationwide fleet of dedicated deployable network assets to expanding the FirstNet program to provide primary agencies with free smartphones for life with our FirstNet-Mobile Unlimited plans.1 Those are just a few of the ways we continue to evolve FirstNet to meet first responders’ needs.

FirstNet is first and foremost for our country’s first responders. But we also recognize the importance of the extended public safety community that could be called on to help support them. That’s why we review each type of extended user before approving their use of the FirstNet network. From tree trimming crews who clear the way for rescue missions and recovery efforts following major natural disasters, to the nurses and physicians working tirelessly to treat patients. Ultimately, each FirstNet subscriber aligns with the public safety mission, helping to create one, cohesive operating picture across all involved, centralizing information and catalyzing response.

FirstNet stands above best-effort commercial offerings, combining the capabilities public safety needs with the affordability they require. And since it’s built specifically for public safety, we’re delivering an experience unlike any other. This includes features like always on priority and preemption across voice and data for first responders; Band 14 spectrum dedicated to public safety’s needs when and where they need it; and protection against commercial traffic congestion for all FirstNet subscribers. That’s unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere else.

It's amazing to see and hear about the selfless sacrifices made every day by these public servants – the first responders, medical professionals and more who serve our communities. I am truly humbled by the role my team is playing in serving these frontline heroes as they fight against this pandemic day in and day out.

And for those that answer our country’s calls of distress, show up in our greatest time of need and are willing to put it all on the line to fulfill your mission and keep us safe, you have our all-in support and  our thanks – even though “thank you” will never be enough.

1Available only to FirstNet first responder public safety entities for Primary Agency Paid User lines of service.  Requires a new FirstNet Mobile - Unlimited for Smartphone line or eligible upgrade on a two-year service agreement or AT&T installment 30-month agreement. For two-year agreement, upgrade your smartphone with a new eligible smartphone every two years at no additional cost for as long as your service plan is in effect and in good standing. Pay $.99 for eligible smartphone at purchase, credited back within three billing cycles.  Upgrade requires new two-year agreement. For AT&T Installment 30-month agreement, upgrade your smartphone with a new eligible smartphone every time you satisfy your current AT&T Installment agreement and sign a new one for no additional cost for as long as your service plan is in effect and in good standing. For both plans, tax on full discount price (two-year agreement) or full retail price (AT&T Installment agreement) due at sale. Activation and other fees, taxes, charges and restrictions apply. See firstnet.com/agencyoffers for offer details.