AT&T announces FirstNet Network Core is coming online

AT&T announced the FirstNet Wireless Network Core is going online. This is the next, big step in the process to create a network that can help first responders in future disasters like 9/11.

Last week AT&T announced the exclusive communications platform for public safety came to life with the nationwide launch of the FirstNet Dedicated Network Core. This network will let first responders communicate wirelessly during a disaster. Something they were unable to do during 9/11. FirstNet will be the nationwide network that let’s first responders communicate and save lives and property.

First responders do a very specialized job. They need a very specialized network to communicate with each other on an individual level and on a group level. And they need to be able to communicate when other first responders using the same network at the same time. This was the problem during 9/11. And this is the challenge that FirstNet is addressing.

The launch of FirstNet Network Core means first responders now can have access to a specialized communications system designed for them. After 9/11, FirstNet became the first nationwide public safety communications platform in the United States. It is focused on letting first responders communicate in times of crisis.

Taking the lead, AT&T built this public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority. So, FirstNet brings to public safety, the long-awaited wireless, broadband and technology upgrade.

"The launch of the network core comes a year into the FirstNet public-private partnership. It's been a non-stop 12 months. And we're proud of the quick progress we've made in this short timeframe, consistently delivering on or ahead of schedule," said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet. "But bringing the FirstNet network core to life is one of the most exciting milestones yet."

FirstNet evolved packet core network

The launch of the FirstNet evolved packet core is a big step towards public safety. It is built using separate hardware. It gives first responders their own separate, nationwide broadband network. It is certified by the First Responder Network Authority.

FirstNet will be a wireless and broadband network letting every first responder communicate with others in their own group or larger groups. It will let countless people use the network to communicate and get things done.

This is just what we needed during 9/11. Back then, trying to communicate was like a bowl of spaghetti. No one knew how to reach the parties they needed to because everyone was online at the same time. It was mass chaos.

AT&T is the lead communications player in this FirstNet rollout. They are creating and building this next level of network to keep first responders able to do their jobs. This is a major project and I expect there to be a variety of other companies participating in this space in coming years.

Verizon, Siyata Mobile and others see growth potential with FirstNet

Over time, many large and small players will play a role in FirstNet. Verizon is talked about being a player. Siyata Mobile is a handset player in the push-to-talk space. I think PTT will be a key component for this FirstNet type of emergency communications.

I also see many opportunities for both the network, handsets and more going forward. Many partner companies will see strong growth with this FirstNet initiative. This is an exciting opportunity for many reasons.

FirstNet is the starting line for many new technologies we are rolling out today, and many more that have yet to be invented. Just think about the transformation we have already gone through over the last 20 years.

Pace of innovation is accelerating thanks to FirstNet

In the mid 1990’s, there was no Apple iPhone, no Google Android, no Samsung Galaxy. There was no iOS, no wireless Internet, no Facebook, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no YouTube.

Twenty years ago, there was no 9/11 yet, shocking our system and forcing us to up-our-game in order to protect ourselves. We lived in a world of analog cell phones which were all about voice.

Plain old telephone lines were still growing until around 2000. In fact, our computers used our phone lines to dial into the Internet using Prodigy or America Online. That was before high-speed Internet lines. That was back when we could either use the phone line to talk or to log-on, but not both at the same time.

Long distance networks like AT&T, MCI and Sprint were still around and still growing until roughly 2000. We had seven smaller baby bells selling local phone lines and not being very competitive because they had no competition. Back then the primitive Internet was just starting and mostly text. Email was just beginning.

Then, over time we introduced technology after technology. Over time our world has sped up and completely changed. And that change continues today. In this world, we are susceptible to hackers taking down towns, cities, states and the federal government. The same with banks, water, gas, electricity and more.

City of Atlanta hacker nightmare continues today

Today, we in Atlanta are experiencing a hacker nightmare. So many city services, court hearings, filings, everything is put on hold while Atlanta tries to undo the damage and unlock the hacker nightmare that hit the city just last week.

If hackers hit Atlanta, just think of all the damage they could cause around the country. This is the new world of threats and attacks we live in. This is the new world we must protect ourselves and our systems from. We have been sounding the alarm for years.

So, FirstNet is the first, real, solid effort we are making to protect ourselves, our businesses and our governments. This is just starting, and we still have a long way to go. But at least we have finally begun.

FirstNet will be a real win-win for business, government, individuals and society. And this also opens up an incredible growth opportunity for many companies with breakthrough ideas that can help make us more connected and more protected.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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