First responders in Warren County, NC, will benefit from two new purpose-built cell sites to boost wireless communications. The sites – located in Warrenton and near Lake Gaston – are part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place in North Carolina to bring increased coverage, capacity, and capability to first responders across the state.
Backed by Congress, the FirstNet wireless communications platform is designed to strengthen and modernize public safety communications, helping first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. FirstNet is being built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
To ensure AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. One site is located along Highway 903 near Lake Gaston to provide coverage to public safety and lake visitors. And the other new site on Community Lane in Warrenton was selected to resolve a previous coverage gap in the area.
Congressman G. K. Butterfield and the FirstNet Authority joined AT&T earlier this week for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to launch the new FirstNet cell sites.
"The men and women who put their lives on the line as First Responders have long needed the advanced technological tools that will not only help keep them safe but will also help them do the best job possible of serving their communities," said Congressman Butterfield. "That's especially true in small towns and rural areas. I supported the legislation behind FirstNet because I realized this network supported more than a fast network experience, but this improved communication can literally save lives in places like Warren County and across eastern North Carolina. I am pleased to see, with the launch of these new cell sites, that the benefits of FirstNet are already being felt here. I applaud the work that the FirstNet Authority and AT&T are doing to fulfill their mission of delivering a communications system that meets public safety's needs – today and for decades to come."
These are the first new FirstNet sites to be publicly announced in North Carolina following Gov. Roy Cooper's decision to advance the state's public safety broadband communications with FirstNet. The sites are being constructed using the FirstNet Band 14 spectrum as well as other spectrum bands in the AT&T commercial spectrum portfolio. Band 14 has also been added on existing sites across North Carolina.
"FirstNet is a dedicated broadband network for public safety, by public safety," said FirstNet Authority Board Member U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Welton Chase, Jr., (ret.). "We worked hand-in-hand with North Carolina's public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these cell sites are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Warren County first responders' use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect their communities."
In addition to further elevating public safety's connected experience in support of their emergency response, the new sites will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
"North Carolina's first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that's exactly what they're getting," said Trey Rabon, president, AT&T North Carolina. "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."
These cell sites aren't the only connectivity enhancements Warren County's public safety community will benefit from if they subscribe to FirstNet. A FirstNet Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT) was also on display during the celebration.
This is a large, heavy-duty portable cell site that connects via satellite – not fiber. It's part of the nationwide fleet of 75 deployable network assets available to FirstNet subscribers at no additional charge. Public safety agencies on FirstNet can request the equipment for added support during planned events or emergencies. The deployable network asset is designed to keep FirstNet subscribers connected to the information they need, no matter where their mission takes them – allowing first responders to make rescues, communicate and coordinate their emergency response, or aid in recovery, even in the most remote parts of the state.
For more about FirstNet and public safety, visit FirstNet.com.