Exclusively on FirstNet – New Virtually Seamless Interoperability and Unthrottled Priority Communication

January 26, 2021

The first-ever, nationwide mission-critical standards-based push-to-talk solution to launch in the U.S. now supports LTE interoperability with Land-Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. FirstNet® – America’s public safety network – now gives public safety agencies using traditional two-way radios access to communicate seamlessly with smartphone users on FirstNet Push-to-Talk (PTT), over a Radio Over IP (RoIP) gateway. This new seamless and interoperable communications capability, with unthrottled connectivity is exclusively available to public safety agencies using FirstNet, the only network that gives first responders First Priority® – always-on priority and preemption communications for their life-saving missions.

FirstNet PTTrepresents an evolution of the public safety broadband network and furthers a fundamental purpose of FirstNet: communication interoperability between and within public safety agencies. FirstNet PTT seamlessly integrates with almost any LMR system, helping customers increase connectivity, improve productivity and significantly reduce costs associated with maintaining LMR equipment. 

Public safety agencies and extended primary users, who routinely use two-way radios, can now seamlessly communicate with users on FirstNet PTT and vice versa. With LMR interoperability, FirstNet PTT can:

  • Complement mission-critical agency communications to include those who regularly use a smartphone
  • Free-up LMR capacity by moving non-essential communications to FirstNet PTT
  • Allow team members who travel outside the LMR footprint to stay connected
  • Provide end-to-end security and encryption

Since launching FirstNet PTT last year, 11 FirstNet Ready™ devices are now approved for FirstNet PTT, giving customers the choice and flexibility of ruggedized smartphones, a feature phone for dedicated push-to-talk, and a selection of regular smartphones.

We’re staying focused on delivering the nationwide broadband communications platform and capabilities that public safety deserves – as laid out by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) on public safety’s behalf. Remember, the legislation that created FirstNet calls for a single, nationwide broadband network that will drive interoperability for first responders across agencies and jurisdictions – not replicate a patchwork of networks. This is what public safety demanded.

Our intention is to ensure FirstNet capabilities are designed to interoperate with the thousands of LMR networks currently in use so that the promise of integrated voice, data and video capabilities for public safety group communications is realized.

To deliver our LMR-to-LTE RoIP interoperability solution we’ve collaborated with Cubic, a designer and manufacturer of secure critical communication solutions, to certify the Cubic Vocality RoIP Gateway for use with FirstNet PTT.  The RoIP Gateway converts analog LMR signals to IP digital data for delivery to the LTE FirstNet PTT service.  

Providing this option for LMR voice interoperability is an important step in FirstNet’s innovation to provide agencies with the full suite of interworking they need to provide their teams with rich information from diverse sources. 

It’s an important enhancement to FirstNet PTT, enabling our customers to communicate between their FirstNet smartphones and the mission-critical two-way radios used daily.

It’s this innovative spirit that has earned AT&T the Frost & Sullivan Public Safety Company of the Year award for the 3rd consecutive year, recognizing our visionary innovation in public safety by introducing ‘smart’ solutions that cater to the evolving demands of first responders.

For more information on how to get FirstNet Push-to Talk, go to FirstNet.com/push-to-talk.

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