The FirstNet One aerostat can replace multiple ground-based portable cell sites, making them available to deploy elsewhere. (Photo: FirstNet) -

The FirstNet One aerostat can replace multiple ground-based portable cell sites, making them available to deploy elsewhere. (Photo: FirstNet)

FirstNet is expanding its dedicated fleet of deployable network assets to provide connectivity when and where it is needed, including in the immediate aftermath of a storm or other disaster when commercial power and other infrastructure may be disrupted.

FirstNet users now have access to a dedicated fleet of more than 100 land-based and airborne portable cell sites, all at no additional charge. Here’s a breakdown of the new additions:

* Communications Vehicles (CVs): FirstNet has stationed three CVs across the country to provide an extra-level of communications support beyond the standard deployable asset for first responders when needed. These new assets can be used for emergency deployments or planned events such as training exercises. In addition to providing connectivity via LTE (high-quality Band 14 spectrum) and/or Wi-Fi similar to a Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT), CVs provide an air-conditioned command space for two first responder communications personnel with multiple monitors, a television and charging stations, as well as a large exterior screen and speakers for briefings. And since they are equipped with a generator that can run for multiple days before refueling, CVs also include a lavatory, microwave, mini refrigerator and sleeping bunk for personnel deployed during the harshest of conditions.

* Micro SatCOLTs: We’ve added four of these assets and stationed them out West to support the 2021 wildfire season. Similar to the Compact Rapid Deployables available to agencies to own, Micro SatCOLTs can be deployed by a single technician within a matter of minutes once onsite. Their agility makes them ideal for supporting firefighters on the front lines as they adjust to wildfire’s unpredictable nature.

U.S. Territory Assets: FirstNet supports America’s entire public safety community. That means first responders in all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. By collaborating with local network providers in each region, FirstNet has dedicated assets stationed in Puerto Rico and the three Pacific territories. It has also added two new portable assets in the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide immediate support.

* Land-based Assets: FirstNet also added 10 SatCOLTs to provide first responders similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower. They’re housed across more than 50 locations nationwide to enable a 14-hour delivery window following the initial emergency request.

The FirstNet fleet can also go airborne with three FirstNet Flying Cells on Wings (COWs) and the FirstNet One aerostat. FirstNet One is a first-of-its-kind public safety communications solution that can fly up to 1,000 feet and replaces multiple ground-based portable cell sites, making them available to deploy elsewhere.

In addition to the FirstNet fleet of emergency connectivity assets, public safety can also tap into the more than 300 assets, from the AT&T Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) fleet when available. The AT&T NDR program is one of the largest, most advanced of its kind with more than $650 million invested in the U.S. and another $15 million invested internationally.

These assets could be extremely important this summer as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an above-normal hurricane season. In the West exceptionally dry conditions are priming the region for another potent wildfire season.

Agencies on FirstNet can call (800) 574-7000. When public safety calls for additional support, FirstNet will work with the agency to assess the situation and either deploy one of the dedicated emergency assets in the FirstNet fleet, or it will identify and provide alternate solutions that could better serve public safety such as expediting network restoration or quickly turning-up indoor coverage. This all strengthens public safety’s command and control of their network.