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AT&T FirstNet Adds Unique Technologies for First Responders

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Jan 26, 2021, 1:42 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

AT&T today announced several unique new technological capabilities for its FirstNet offering for first responders. FirstNet offers priority access to AT&T's exclusive band 14 (758 - 798 MHz). Z-Axis location allows authorized applications that support Z-Axis to pinpoint FirstNet users precisely in three dimensions, not just on a map. For example, this gives a fire chief the ability to see exactly where firefighters are within a high-rise building. This feature uses the NextNav Pinnacle vertical positioning service, which AT&T has deployed in 105 markets across the country, with more added "weekly". The first app to support Z-Axis is Intrepid Networks' Response for FirstNet. LMR Interoperability for FirstNet Push-To-Talk bridges FirstNet PTT with traditional first responder radio systems that use LMR technology. This allows first responders to stay connected to their agency's central radio system even when outside the LMR network coverage area. 11 FirstNet-Ready phones support this feature via FirstNet PTT. Finally, AT&T is now offering a "Compact Rapid Deployable (CRD)" for sale directly to first-responder agencies. This Cell on Wheels (COW) can be deployed by a single person within a matter of minutes to create a band 14 LTE network anywhere in an emergency, including in remote areas and where mobile networks are temporarily down due to disaster. CRDs link to FirstNet via satellite. Until now, COWs have generally been owned and deployed only by mobile carriers, requiring extra coordination between carriers and first responder agencies during an emergency.

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