First responders get connectivity boost

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

New FirstNet cell sites have launched in four counties:

Patrick County: A new site north of Stuart provides coverage around U.S. 58, and another new site provides coverage around Route 747/Widow Drive in Meadows of Dan.

Carroll County: New sites are on the air, including Hillsville, at the intersection of US22 and Route 100, and Laurel Fork very close to U.S. 58.

Fairfax County: A new site near the intersection of Franconia Road and South Van Dorn Street improves coverage between the Beltway and Kingstowne Town Center.

Floyd County: New sites are on the air in the county, including Copper Hill near Floyd Highway; Locust Grove around Route 661; and a new site that improves coverage around Midkiff Road in Floyd.

Other purpose-built sites in Fairfax County, Prince William County and Alleghany County were announced last year.

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* 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 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 Virginia’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 Virginia we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. The build out of the FirstNet platform is currently well ahead of schedule.

“Virginia’s first responders deserve fast, reliable and dedicated coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Vince Apruzzese, president, AT&T Virginia. “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.”

Apruzzese added that Virginia was the first state in the country to opt in to FirstNet in July 2017.

The COVID-19 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.

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