FirstNet customers have access to deployable network assets

A fleet of 72 deployable cell sites are available to public safety agencies who subscribe to AT&T-FirstNet’s services, according to the carrier. Those network resources are housed at 40 locations around the country and can be delivered within a 14-hour window after an emergency request, AT&T said.

The deployables are available for either planned events or emergencies, AT&T-FirstNet said; AT&T said that already this year, its FirstNet team has supported “nearly 100 emergency and event response efforts via asset deployments and other solutions, [including]active shooter situations, tornadoes in the east, wildfires across the western states, and most recently, deployments for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions and Hurricane Florence.”

Deployable network assets have been a long-time priority for the First Responders Network Authority, recognizing that some loss of communications infrastructure is inevitable in large-scale natural disasters and the quickest way to replace or supplement coverage often comes from deployables that are not dependent on commercial power and can rely on satellite-based backhaul if necessary. New Jersey’s FirstNet early builder project, JerseyNet, focused on the use of deployable cell sites to provide Band 14 coverage, including at major events such as beachside concerts in Atlantic City.

AT&T-FirstNet said that the dedicated deployables are available 24/7 and at no cost to public safety, at the request of FirstNet subscribers. The operator also noted that its Response Operations program “aligns with the National Incident Management System to better guide the deployment of these assets. This prioritizes deployments based on their situational awareness of life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation. “

“These dedicated deployable network assets are just one more unique tool we can equip first responders with to help them stay connected during events and incidents,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president of  AT&T-FirstNet, in a statement. “Hurricane Florence tested this capability. In the course of 7 days, the AT&T FirstNet team managed 25 different support requests around the storm to assist with rescue and recovery. When other systems went down, FirstNet stayed up.”

AT&T said that in addition to the dedicated fleet of 72 deployables, its FirstNet public safety subscribers “will be able to tap into assets, as available, from the AT&T fleet.”

The FirstNet authority received a demo of the deployables, which also made a few appearances on Twitter:


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