The FirstNet Network Expands Across Pennsylvania, Advances Public Safety Communications Capabilities

New Infrastructure Will Also Improve Connectivity for Area Residents and Visitors; Public Safety’s Network Supports COVID-19 Emergency Response

Pennsylvania’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet(link is external) cell sites and other network enhancements statewide. This new infrastructure is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.

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. It’s built with AT&T(link is external)* 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(link is external) unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Pennsylvania’s 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.1

Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Pennsylvania we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. Currently well ahead of schedule, the FirstNet build has already brought Pennsylvania’s first responders:

Purpose-built network enhancements – New FirstNet cell sites(link is external) have launched in the following communities:

  • Huntingdon County: This new site provides coverage around Broad Top City and along SR-913 and Broad St.
  • Lycoming County: A new site offers new coverage in Barbours, as well as Route 87 throughout the area. 

“FirstNet has opened up a new level of data transmission service for the public safety world. Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Company No.1 enjoys the data speeds and call preemption service in the regions command unit as well as our tablet used in our EMS and Fire units,” said Rich Caschera, North Central Regional Task Force. “We enjoy a great working relationship with the FirstNet Pennsylvania Sate Interop Team and the FirstNet support team at AT&T. We saved on costs and gained service – a WIN!”

  • Sullivan County: This new site in Forksville enhances coverage along East Bear Mountain Road and Route 154 as well as surrounding areas.

This is the latest group of FirstNet sites to be publicly announced in Pennsylvania following Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision(link is external) to opt into FirstNet in November 2017, to advance its public safety broadband communications with FirstNet. In December 2019, AT&T announced(link is external) a new, purpose-built site that was turned on in Clinton County.

These sites were identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations. With FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s what is driving our FirstNet build. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. AT&T has also deployed Band 14 in communities across Pennsylvania.

“My team worked to help identify the areas of Pennsylvania where we needed more mobile broadband coverage for our first responders. These new sites are good news for public safety in Pennsylvania. I look forward to continued collaboration with the FirstNet Authority and AT&T as the buildout continues,” said Pennsylvania State Police Major Diane M. Stackhouse, Governor Wolf’s appointed FirstNet Single Point of Contact for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.

Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – 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. This is like giving public safety communications the “lights and sirens” treatment so that they stay connected, no matter the emergency.

Unparalleled emergency support – State and local agencies in Pennsylvania on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies(link is external) at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.

Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies – We’ve also expanded the benefits of FirstNet for state and local agencies across Pennsylvania – spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life(link is external) at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited plans.2 This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.

“Pennsylvania’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said David Kerr, president, AT&T Pennsylvania. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”

The COVID-19(link is external) health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet. Where public safety goes, we go. We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Pennsylvania’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting the Commonwealth’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”

In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.

For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com(link is external).

1 Based on AT&T analysis of Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® data median download speeds for Q1 2020. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission.

2 Available only to FirstNet first responder public safety entities for Primary Agency Paid User lines of service.  Requires a new FirstNet Mobile – Unlimited for Smartphone line or eligible upgrade on a two-year service agreement or AT&T installment 30-month agreement. For two-year agreement, upgrade your smartphone with a new eligible smartphone every two years at no additional cost for as long as your service plan is in effect and in good standing. Pay $.99 for eligible smartphone at purchase, credited back within three billing cycles.  Upgrade requires new two-year agreement. For AT&T Installment 30-month agreement, upgrade your smartphone with a new eligible smartphone every time you satisfy your current AT&T Installment agreement and sign a new one for no additional cost for as long as your service plan is in effect and in good standing. For both plans, tax on full discount price (two-year agreement) or full retail price (AT&T Installment agreement) due at sale. Activation and other fees, taxes, charges and restrictions apply. See firstnet.com/agencyoffers for offer details

News Media Contact

Candice Appiakorang

(202) 510-7505
Candice.Appiakorang@FirstNet.gov

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