AT&T-FirstNet says that it has more than 150,000 connections for public safety use

AT&T-FirstNet said in a blog entry that it has nearly doubled the number of agencies signed on as customers of its network since its last update in July, and that the number of FirstNet connections is more than 150,000.

AT&T-FirstNet also said that Band 14 spectrum has been turned up at more than 2,500 sites across the country, with the process to build out at least 10,000 more sites “underway.”

Chris Sambar, SVP of AT&T-FirstNet, said that the partnership has “recently seen a spike in the number of public safety agencies subscribing to FirstNet” and credited its specific focus on the first responder market’s communication needs, as well as security on its dedicated network (AT&T-FirstNet directs customer traffic over a dedicated core) and its policy against throttling users.

Verizon recently found itself under fire after it came to light in a legal filing that the carrier had throttled the data speeds for an incident management vehicle from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, which was coordinating the response to the Mendocino Complex fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history. Verizon responded with an apology and lifted all speed cap restrictions for West Coast first responders and in Hawaii, to support wildfire response and communications in the wake of Hurricane Lane. Mike Maiorana, Verizon SVP of public sector, said Verizon would also quickly introduce a new plan for first responders with no caps on data speeds and priority network access, and that “in the event of another disaster, Verizon will lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access.

“In supporting first responders in the Mendocino fire, we didn’t live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence when our process failed some first responders on the line, battling a massive California wildfire. For that, we are truly sorry. And we’re making every effort to ensure that it never happens again,” said Maiorana.

AT&T-FirstNet has used the opportunity to emphasize that it does not throttle network speeds based on data usage by first responder customers. According to the Los Angeles Times, Santa Clara County Fire is now using FirstNet to supplement its Verizon service to ensure that it doesn’t have to worry about future throttling.

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