AT&T boasts huge jump in FirstNet coverage, connections

By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

AT&T boasts huge jump in FirstNet coverage, connections

Band 14 spectrum has been deployed in more than 500 US markets, with FirstNet connections exceeding 425,000.

The LTE coverage area for AT&T’s network and the FirstNet public safety communications platform was expanded by more than 130,000 square kilometres across the US in 2018, covering an additional 1 million individuals.

“The demand for data has been on a nonstop, upward trajectory for years,” said Marachel Knight, Senior Vice President, Wireless and Access Engineering, Construction and Operations, AT&T.

“Our ongoing work to launch new sites and build out our LTE network is delivering increased network speeds and capacity. By the end of this year, we expect our network capacity to increase by 50% since the end of 2017 while simultaneously laying the foundation for a 5G future.”

AT&T has deployed Band 14 spectrum in more than 500 US markets, with more than 5250 public safety agencies using 425,000-plus connections on FirstNet as of this month. The latter figure represents a more than 60% increase in the number of connections since the end of October 2018.

“We’re less than a year into the Band 14 build and months ahead of schedule. And we already cover more than 40% of our total FirstNet Band 14 rural and non-rural coverage targets. That’s about a 10% jump in the FirstNet square miles covered since last October,” said Chris Sambar, Senior Vice President, FirstNet at AT&T.

“Witnessing the real, tangible and — at times — life-saving impacts that FirstNet had in 2018 fuels us to keep moving quickly to blanket the country with reliable connectivity. And we’re set for the explosive growth ahead.”

AT&T says it has three areas of focus for the continuing rollout of FirstNet:

  1. Reaching rural and remote parts of the US.
  2. Increasing capacity for urban responders.
  3. Keeping the public safety community updated with innovative solutions.

FirstNet is being built in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority).

“FirstNet is advancing quickly — both in terms of progress and adoption. It’s an incredible testament to the need first responders have for a dedicated, purpose-built network as well as the unparalleled capabilities FirstNet has already delivered. We are looking forward to the further expansion of FirstNet in the year ahead and will continue to work closely with first responders and AT&T to ensure FirstNet is being built to their specifications — coverage and capacity included,” said FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson.

“With the Band 14 buildout validated thus far, we’re pleased that more first responders in rural and urban areas have even more access to the connectivity and modern communications tools they need.”

Image courtesy FirstNet.

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