Transforming Public Safety, VA 1st to Opt-In to FirstNet, (Learn More, Video)

Virginia is making history, as Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a letter accepting the FirstNet and AT&T* plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the Commonwealth’s public safety community.

Virginia will be the first state in the country to “opt-in” to FirstNet and bring advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.

(Lives depend on first responders’ ability to communicate in disaster and emergency. That is why FirstNet was created – to develop a wireless, mobile network to modernize public safety communications and keep first responders connected when it counts the most. Courtesy of FirstNet and YouTube)

“I am proud that Virginia is the first state in the nation to opt in to this program that will help our first responders communicate during times of emergency,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Governor Terry McAuliffe
Governor Terry McAuliffe

“While this is only the beginning of the process, I look forward to the continued coordinated efforts among Virginia, FirstNet, and AT&T to provide public safety officials with innovative new technologies that will help them keep Virginians safe.”

FirstNet and AT&T will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Virginia’s public safety community at no cost to the state for the next 25 years.

The FirstNet network will deliver innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.

(Learn More. Courtesy of FirstNet and YouTube)

This is one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions Governor McAuliffe will make for the Commonwealth’s first responders and the residents they serve.

The network will transform the way Virginia’s fire, police, EMS, emergency management and other public safety personnel communicate and share information.

Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:

  • Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies like:
    • The recent shooting in Alexandria, or
    • The 2014 Air National Guard F-15C fighter jet crash in Augusta County, and
    • Supporting large events, such as the Richmond Jazz Festival.
  • Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state during natural disasters like:
    • Hurricane Matthew
    • The Derecho storm of June 2012, or
    • The 2011 earthquake with its epicenter in Louisa County
  • Enhance network coverage in rural areas.
    • This will benefit first responders and residents in areas such as Southwest VirginiaSouthside Virginia, the Eastern Shore and more.
  • Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.
  • Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on.
    • This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies.
    • It also carries the potential for future integration with NextGen 9-1-1 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.
Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers
Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers

“I am extremely pleased that Virginia is choosing to opt in to the network,” said Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers.

“Access to the network will provide us with additional tools to help ensure we can do our job when the time comes.”

The FirstNet solution that will be built in Virginia was designed with direct input from the Commonwealth’s public safety community.

Since 2013, FirstNet has met with Virginia officials and public safety personnel more than 90 times to address their unique communication needs.

This includes understanding the importance of maritime coverage and increasing coverage in rural areas of the Commonwealth as well as coordination with military and federal government users.

FirstNet CEO Mike Poth
FirstNet CEO Mike Poth

“Public safety has spent years advocating for a nationwide network following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and today, Governor McAuliffe is helping to answer that call by joining the FirstNet network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth.

“FirstNet will put modern technologies that citizens use every day – like smartphones and apps – into the hands of Virginia’s first responders, helping them help save lives and protect residents while creating a single, interoperable system across the Commonwealth and across the country.”

The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications.

(AT&T has worked to improve public safety for nearly 140 years, and believes strongly in FirstNet’s public safety mission. Courtesy of AT&T and YouTube)

Specifically, Virginia’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.

Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end.

This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365, like their mission.

Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet, AT&T Global Public Sector
Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet, AT&T Global Public Sector

“Governor McAuliffe is taking the first steps necessary to make public safety’s long-awaited vision a reality,” said Chris Sambar, SVP, AT&T – FirstNet.

“Through his leadership, the Commonwealth of Virginia will serve as an important building block for the nationwide public safety broadband network.”

“We take our responsibility to deliver this first-of-its-kind solution seriously.”

“And we’re honored to bring the FirstNet Network to Virginia and connect its public safety community to the life-saving technologies they deserve.”

Additionally, Motorola Solutions will provide mobile apps, software and services for the FirstNet network as part of its role on the AT&T team selected by the U.S. government to deliver America’s first nationwide wireless broadband public safety network.

Courtesy of AT&T

“We’re proud to further strengthen our relationship with AT&T and continue our unique role supporting the delivery of FirstNet services to public safety entities,” said Bruce Brda, executive vice president, Products & Services, Motorola Solutions.

“We’ll work hand-in-hand with AT&T and first responders to help provide a new generation of voice, data and messaging capabilities for U.S. public safety.”

“Our solutions can help customers transform their communications into improved safety for Americans and for first responders.”

Working with AT&T, Motorola Solutions will help deliver the broadband devices and solutions that public safety needs.

These will help allow first responders to quickly access the vital information and actionable intelligence that enable faster decisions, enhance situational awareness and achieve better outcomes.

(When every second counts, networks and the devices and applications they connect become trusted partners with Mobile Intelligence from Motorola Solutions. Courtesy of the company and YouTube)

“Public safety is looking for advanced, interoperable communications and collaboration capabilities,” added AT&T’s Chris Sambar.

“Working with Motorola Solutions and other key team members, we will help deliver broadband-enabled devices and apps that will be certified for use by public safety seeking FirstNet services.”

Motorola Solutions’ LEX F10 device, designed specifically for public safety, has been certified for the AT&T LTE network.

The company will also deliver a suite of mobile apps, such as mapping and messaging, built specifically for the unique needs of public safety.

Bruce Brda, executive vice president, Products & Services, Motorola Solutions
Bruce Brda, executive vice president, Products & Services, Motorola Solutions

The suite will work virtually seamlessly between the FirstNet network and land mobile radio networks (LMR) as well as other software and services that support and enable the new FirstNet communications capabilities.

Brda continued, “LMR and LTE networks will continue to coexist, and helping first responders bridge those technologies with interoperable solutions will be an important growth driver for our company.”