AT&T® extended the LTE coverage of it by over 50,000 square miles as well as developed the 700 Megahertz Band 14 spectrum that is licensed to FirstNet® in over 500 markets last year, with the number of connections to FirstNet’s system topping the threshold of 425,000, the company announced recently.
“We’re moving fast to bring the unique features and benefits of FirstNet® to life,” said Chris Sambar, the Senior VP of AT&T® for FirstNet®. “We’re less than a year into the Band 14 build and months ahead of schedule. And we already cover more than 40% of our total FirstNet® Band 14 rural and non-rural coverage targets. That’s about a 10% jump in the FirstNet® square miles covered since last October.”
He further said, “Witnessing the real, tangible and—at times—life-saving impacts that FirstNet® had in 2018 fuels us to keep moving quickly to blanket the country with reliable connectivity. And we’re set for the explosive growth ahead.”
It has only been just over a year since AT&T®, the countrywide contractor for FirstNet®, learned all the state and territory governors made “opt-in” decisions that made sure that it would build the public safety broadband network throughout the nation, based upon deployment plans for every state. They called for fresh cell sites to be set up at locations outside of the existing coverage footprint of the fastest internet provider, often in rural locations. However, this process can be time-consuming.
It can be one, which necessitates planning, engineering, as well as regulatory approvals before the company can start the actual construction as well as installation work. Much of last year’s coverage extensions cited by the wireless provider were cell sites it developed for commercial purposes, which benefits FirstNet® users too. For several of the new or proposed cell sites comprised in FirstNet’s state plans, last year resulted in significant progress upon this preparatory work, with an even bigger percent of these FirstNet®-targeted sites to be completed this year and in the years to come.
As per an AT&T® statement to IWCE’s Urgent Communications, “The added LTE coverage is a result of our ongoing network-build initiatives to expand and enhance connectivity for consumers and first responders in both urban and rural areas. This includes both indoor and outdoor sites, as well as our deployment of Band 14 spectrum. The overall Band 14 deployment plans also include 1,000-plus new sites, which will be constructed over the next several years.”
In contrast, the Dallas-based Telco has quickly moved to deploy equipment units at cell sites supporting operations on 20 Megahertz of Band 14 spectrum, and on WCS and AWS-3 airwaves licensed to it.