New FirstNet Cell Site Launches on Spirit Lake Reservation to Support First Responders

New Infrastructure Will Help Advance Public Safety, Improve Connectivity for First Responders and Expand Rural Broadband Coverage for Residents and Visitors

What’s the news? First responders serving the Spirit Lake Tribal communities as well as Benson and Ramsey Counties are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site  along Highway 20 north of Warwick, ND and east of Tokio, ND on the Spirit Lake Reservation to give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data. This new site will increase coverage and capacity for tribal first responders serving the community, as well as for first responders, residents and visitors to Devil’s Lake and in the Warwick-area.

Why is this important? We consider FirstNet the most important wireless network in the country because it serves our first responders. FirstNet is for all first responders – whether rural, tribal, urban or suburban. That’s why extending the FirstNet network in rural, tribal and remote parts of America is a top priority. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is guided by direct feedback from public safety stakeholders. This helps ensure North Dakota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. In addition to providing coverage on the Spirit Lake Reservation, the new site will also deliver coverage for local communities and visitors out on Devil’s Lake, where coverage had been lacking. 

What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in North Dakota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. Congress 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. That means only those on the FirstNet network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response.

How does this help local residents? This new infrastructure will help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers on the Spirit Lake Reservation and along the shores of Devil’s Lake in the Warwick-area.  Devil’s Lake, or Miniwaukan in the Dakota language, is the largest body of water in the state and attracts a great deal of tourism for boating, fishing and more. The expanded coverage provided by the new cell site will improve public safety for travelers and local residents alike by increasing first responders’ ability to communicate in the event of an emergency.

The new site will also enhance wireless capabilities for visitors to the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort and other local businesses. Residents and visitors can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when capacity is available.  

What is FirstNet? 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. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the FirstNet Authority – an independent agency within the federal government. The FirstNet network provides first responders with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to help fire, EMS, EMA, law enforcement, and 9-1-1 personnel save lives and protect their communities.

What people are saying:

US Senator John Hoeven

“During my time as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, one of our priorities was improving public safety in tribal communities. The FirstNet expansion on the Spirit Lake Reservation will give first responders state-of-the-art communications capabilities and will deliver wireless broadband to the community, increasing opportunities for economic development, job creation, improved health care and education.”

US Senator Kevin Cramer

“Reliable internet connectivity is a key part of life in rural areas and on tribal lands.  The expansion of FirstNet on the Spirit Lake Reservation will help equip their community, expand economic opportunity, and keep their residents safe.”

Cheryl Riley, President, AT&T Northern Plains States

“AT&T knows how important it is for customers to stay connected. That’s why we continue to be focused on making investments in rural and tribal communities in North Dakota and in larger cities and towns. We are boosting network reliability and capacity as we expand the network across the state to deliver much needed service to areas such as the Spirit Lake Reservation and surrounding areas. This will help residents and first responders to get the best possible experience over the AT&T and FirstNet networks.”  

Edward Parkinson, CEO, FirstNet Authority

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

Where can I find more information? Go here to learn more about how AT&T is supporting North Dakota.  For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out And go here for more FirstNet news. 

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