New FirstNet Cell Site Launches Near Kamiah to Support Public Safety

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors

Kamiah’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communication with the addition of a new, purpose-built FirstNet cell site. The site—located north of Kamiah, Idaho—is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place in Idaho, which is bringing increased coverage, capacity and capability to first responders across the state. Plus, the new FirstNet site will give Kamiah’s first responders access to the fastest overall network experience.1

FirstNet is the nationwide, wireless communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community. Its primary objective is to connect first responders to critical information quickly, helping them keep their communities safe. FirstNet is built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. 

To ensure AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. The Kamiah area was selected as the location for the new cell site due to its proximity to U.S. Highway 12.

The site is constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. Band 14 has also been added on nearly 200 existing sites across Idaho as part of the initial FirstNet build, including areas such as Grangeville, Idaho City and Orofino.

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Idaho’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this cell site is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Kamiah’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”

In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, the new site will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available. 

“Ensuring reliable coverage along the winding highway, which parallels the Lochsa River on one site and a steep canyon wall on the other was a top priority for our FirstNet build in the state.”  said Tara Thue, president, AT&T Mountain West States. “A T&T is proud that this investment will help ensure first responders can do their jobs with highly secure, reliable connectivity across their network.”

1Based on AT&T analysis of Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® data median download speeds for Q3 2020. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission.