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AT&T wins FirstNet network contract

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blantonl

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AT&T has officially been selected as the commercial partner that will build and maintain a nationwide public safety LTE network for the First Responders Network Authority.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson joined federal officials as the news was announced Thursday morning and told the crowd that starting this fall, AT&T will be spending $40 billion of its own money on the FirstNet network — in addition to the $6.5 billion that it will receive from FirstNet for the build. AT&T spends about $20 billion per year on network capital expenditures ($22.4 billion in capex in 2016, according to its annual report); a press release from FirstNet clarified that A&T will spend the $40 billion “over the life” of the 25-year contract.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said that the public-private partnership is expected to create 10,000 jobs in the first two years of the contract, and that the FirstNet network “will change an untenable status quo by providing first responders with the tools they need to keep us safe. Today is a landmark day for public safety.”

AT&T wins FirstNet network contract - RCR Wireless News
 

cackis

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“will change an untenable status quo by providing first responders with the tools they need to keep us safe. Today is a landmark day for public safety.”

A lot of hype for something that will be useful but money would have been better spent on staffing, rigs, equipment that is a lot more useful to everyday first responders.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

ColonelMike

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As a LEO, I am kind of confused about this myself. We currently utilize Verizon and our devices have a priority on the network already as public safety devices. This includes our hotspots for our mobile data computers and our phones that are thru the agency. I guess there is a need for this somewhere though.
 

com501

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This is intended to be the next generation do-all be-all for public safety comms. This is supposed to be a nationwide network. By the time agencies get enough equipment on it, something better will have come along. Keep in mind, it might take 25 years to make this a nationwide system.
 

iMONITOR

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I'm not surprised AT&T won this. After all, AT&T was the first to sell our privacy out, and allow government to wiretap our telephone systems, eavesdrop on cellular service, etc.
 

cpetraglia

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And how does this work for counties like mine that just finished spending 130M on a new P25 system?
I don't get it. Does a county in VA need to talk with someone in Main? What are the benefits that make it the cats meow?
 

12dbsinad

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Providing first responders the tools needed to keep us safe? Yeah, sure...

Who do I call when I'm stuck in the basement of a burning building and my handset can't connect?
Who do I call if a hurricane or other natural disaster whips out the LTE (which is ever so fragile) network and we have to rely on our 100 watt LMR mobiles on simplex and base radios to communicate?
Who do I call when we need to deploy portable repeaters in remote areas while battling forest fires?

I know.... Ghost Busters!
 
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milf

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AT&T? REALLY!??? There are officially going to be delays and delays and delays on delays after delays! They cant even get connectivity right on an capital project like the SAFE-T P25 upgrades! They caused this project alone to run at least an year behind, and have caused delays on other projects... And they DO NOT have 3g, much less 4g service in a LOT of areas across the nation! And we are giving them FirstNet?
 
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mmckenna

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Is it going to be piggybacked on civilian-commercial infrastructure?
Likely.

Remember, this isn't an immediate replacement for 2 way radio systems. It's initial intent is to be a wireless data network to support things like:
Providing real time video to first responders.
Providing building plans to fire fighters.
Medical telemetry
etc.
etc.

While Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be coming, I'd hope that no self respecting public safety agency will completely ditch their two way voice radio system. But, dumber moves have been made (Nextel anyone?).

It does make sense for a large wireless provider to build this out. They have the knowledge, staff and sites to do this. AT&T winning the contract isn't a surprise to anyone that's been paying attention for a while.

As for coverage, "Nationwide" should be taken with a grain of salt. No where is there any plans to provide 100% coverage to the country. That isn't realistic.

State FirstNet boards will decide what areas get covered. How this is exactly done remains to be seen.

But yeah, figure AT&T is going to roll this out at their existing cellular sites. It does make sense and will lower -their- costs.


What I expect will happen is that AT&T will knock out the low hanging fruit quickly. Areas with established AT&T 700MHz coverage will get this first. Eventually the states will push to get additional coverage. I'm confident that at some point AT&T will start complaining about not having enough money. They'll ask for more and will either get it or they won't. Depends on the Dufus In Cheif.
I'm willing to bet a six pack of beer that what will happen is they'll talk the FirstNet authority into allowing them to use under utilized FirstNet bandwidth to provide service to non-public safety users as a way to cover some of the costs.

Considering some of the LTE handsets I've seen that are intended for public safety use, it should be an interesting service.
 

mmckenna

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Replacement? Even as a nethead myself I still don't think everything should be strictly IP
True, however most meatheads know more about 2 way radios that most public safety people do. Law enforcement, medical, fire fighters are all good at what they do, but 99% of them ain't radio guys. All they know is that it's a box that noise comes out of. Most of them couldn't tell you the difference between a two way radio, a CB, a cell phone or a wired phone.

IP is a poor choice for anything critical. It's not so much the technology that's bad, it's all the IT guys that have their fingers in it. The nice thing about traditional 2 way radio systems was that the guys working on them understood exactly what they were and the critical nature of it. Most IT guys just look at the bits flying past and don't really care if it's voice traffic, streamed music or internet port. To them it's just 1's and 0's and see little problem with rebooting a router in the middle of the day.
 

SCPD

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Likely.

Remember, this isn't an immediate replacement for 2 way radio systems. It's initial intent is to be a wireless data network to support things like:
Providing real time video to first responders.
Providing building plans to fire fighters.
Medical telemetry
etc.
etc.

While Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be coming, I'd hope that no self respecting public safety agency will completely ditch their two way voice radio system. But, dumber moves have been made (Nextel anyone?).

It does make sense for a large wireless provider to build this out. They have the knowledge, staff and sites to do this. AT&T winning the contract isn't a surprise to anyone that's been paying attention for a while.

As for coverage, "Nationwide" should be taken with a grain of salt. No where is there any plans to provide 100% coverage to the country. That isn't realistic.

State FirstNet boards will decide what areas get covered. How this is exactly done remains to be seen.

But yeah, figure AT&T is going to roll this out at their existing cellular sites. It does make sense and will lower -their- costs.


What I expect will happen is that AT&T will knock out the low hanging fruit quickly. Areas with established AT&T 700MHz coverage will get this first. Eventually the states will push to get additional coverage. I'm confident that at some point AT&T will start complaining about not having enough money. They'll ask for more and will either get it or they won't. Depends on the Dufus In Cheif.
I'm willing to bet a six pack of beer that what will happen is they'll talk the FirstNet authority into allowing them to use under utilized FirstNet bandwidth to provide service to non-public safety users as a way to cover some of the costs.

Considering some of the LTE handsets I've seen that are intended for public safety use, it should be an interesting service.
While I agree with you bout the voice end a few have actually looked at doing that dropping 2 way radios and going to or seeking a ptt type smart phone but ruggedized. Some manufacturers have been toying with it I believe kenwood is and motorola has. One agency in Texas feels from a post I read and article that one less item on the belt is better then having to carry a cell and a 2 way. They plan to drop 2 ways and go to a LTE voice and devices once they are available.
 

celestis

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While I agree with you bout the voice end a few have actually looked at doing that dropping 2 way radios and going to or seeking a ptt type smart phone but ruggedized. Some manufacturers have been toying with it I believe kenwood is and motorola has. One agency in Texas feels from a post I read and article that one less item on the belt is better then having to carry a cell and a 2 way. They plan to drop 2 ways and go to a LTE voice and devices once they are available.
Was the rationale for that something along the lines of "it's 2017 why is this still a thing"?

Eugh
 

prcguy

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I'm not up on the technical aspects of this new system, but I can see it being much better than LEOs relying on the public infrastructure. In CA where I live, even a small 4.0 earthquake makes the cell phone system unusable for at least 15min because everyone is calling everyone to see if their ok and it completely consumes the local cell phone infrastructure.

Giving LEOs their own system and designing it to handle all the expected traffic during a major disaster would be a giant step forward, especially if it can connect them all together for interoperability.
prcguy
 
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