AT&T’s FirstNet expands to Knox County to advance public safety communication capabilities

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 10:00pm

    Maine’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet cell sites — located in Aroostook, Penobscot, Oxford, Somerset, Hancock, Kennebec and Knox counties.

    This new infrastructure, according to a news release, is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.

    On top of the purpose-built FirstNet sites, AT&T has also recently launched additional new cell sites in Biddeford, Springvale, Buxton, Hartland, Easton, Dayton, and Rockwood.

    AT&T also recently completed updates to over 150 recently acquired, existing cell sites across central and northern Maine, which will significantly expand coverage to many areas of the state, the release stated.

    These sites have been upgraded with AT&T LTE spectrum and Band 14 spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet.

    “I welcome FirstNet’s commitment to enhance wireless coverage across Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This announcement is an important step forward in supporting emergency first responders as they conduct their critical work, in supporting the health and safety of Maine people, and in connecting more Maine people to our global network. We are grateful for our partnership with AT&T and look forward to our continued work to bolster coverage and strengthen our economy. 

    “AT&T is committed to reinforcing and enhancing our Maine network,” said Owen Smith, President, AT&T Maine. “These uncertain times have highlighted just how important fast, reliable communication tools are to all of us, from students and teachers to doctors and nurses to families and businesses. Through strong partnerships and by utilizing an array of innovative resources, AT&T is working to ensure Maine’s first responders and residents have the best possible coverage now and in the future. We are grateful to Governor Mills, the State of Maine and all those involved in helping bring about these important enhancements and those still to come.”

    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, the release noted. It’s built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.

    “That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider,” the release read. “And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Maine first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Plus, it’s giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.”

    FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data, the release touted.