Today, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee; Marc Pappas, director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA); and representatives of the First Responder Network (FirstNet) Authority joined AT&T representatives at the RIEMA Readiness Center to unveil new FirstNet equipment and technology for Rhode Island first responders.
According to the FirstNet Authority, the FirstNet broadband wireless network is the only nationwide network built with and for America’s first responders.
As part of the state’s plan when opting into FirstNet, AT&T has delivered two compact rapid deployables (CRDs) to RIEMA. Rhode Island is the first state to receive CRDs as a part of the state’s decision to advance its public safety broadband communications with FirstNet, according to the agency.
“Rhode Island is honored to be the first state to have the compact rapid deployables,” Pappas said. “The capability to provide a reliable communication service in a moment’s notice is extraordinary. The CRDs’ unmatched technology will increase Rhode Island’s position of readiness for response and recovery operations and provide secure and dependable cellular and Wi-Fi service when connectivity is limited.”
As trailer-mounted mobile units, CRDs provide FirstNet cellular and Wi-Fi coverage via satellite connectivity to first responders wherever their mission takes them, a statement from the FirstNet Authority reads. It said that the assets are owned and operated by RIEMA and were provided at no cost to the state.
“The CRDs can be utilized in response to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, or deployed in support of large-scale events or other public safety emergencies,” the agency’s statement reads. “They are best for use in rural or remote areas, as well as in areas where communications may temporarily be unavailable. CRDs can be set up by a single person in a matter of minutes.”
According to the Authority, the FirstNet network is the most important wireless network in the country, because it serves first responders and public safety community. To help ensure AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the agency said that the FirstNet network build is guided by feedback from state and public safety officials. The feedback, the agency said, helps Rhode Island’s first responders connect to the critical information they need every day, for every emergency.
“Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings, the agency’s statement reads. “It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the FirstNet Authority, an independent agency within the federal government.”
The FirstNet Authority said that, with more than 17,000 public safety agencies and organizations, accounting for more than 2.5 million connections nationwide, the FirstNet network is providing first responders with dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it; benefits like always-on priority; and preemption and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. “These advanced capabilities help emergency management, fire, EMS and law enforcement save lives and protect their communities,” the agency said.