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AT&T Debuts Radio-to-Smartphone and More for FirstNet Users

The company behind FirstNet has come out with four new solutions to help extend networks, boost signal, connect via satellite, allow for vertical location tracking and hook up radios with mobile phones.

AT&T, the company behind FirstNet, has announced four new solutions to improve communications and situational awareness for police, firefighters and other first responders.

The four new solutions are meant to improve network range and throughput, track personnel’s location vertically as well as horizontally and connect land mobile radios with cellphones. The solutions are available only to FirstNet subscribers.

The solutions are:

  • FirstNet MegaRange: High-power user equipment operating on Band 14 allowing for stronger signals, which should extend range in rural areas and allow for better coverage in hard-to-reach urban areas such as stairwells and parking garages.
  • Z-Axis for FirstNet: A new capability allowing for vertical location tracking on situational awareness tools. Available in 105 markets so far.
  • Compact Rapid Deployable: Devices to connect to FirstNet via satellite, useful for disaster response and remote regions.
  • LMR interoperability: Connects land mobile radios to LTE, allowing for radio users to communicate with smartphone users.
FirstNet, first conceived after the 9/11 attacks, is a nationwide, federally-supported communications network for public safety. It was officially created in 2012, and in 2017 all 50 states opted into the network.

The new AT&T solutions play into the FirstNet Road Map released last year, which called for more access to vertical location tracking, deployables and LMR-LTE communication.

The report also outlined a need for more direct communication between devices without relying on a central network, more support for data sharing and security and coverage for aircraft such as drones.

“These innovative mission-driven solutions are equipping first responders with better situational awareness — whether conducting a search and rescue mission in a remote area or on the upper floors of a burning building — all while helping to ensure a seamless, interoperable connection,” said Jason Porter, senior VP of AT&T’s FirstNet program, in a statement.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.