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FirstNet-AT&T supporting naval hospital ships in New York, Los Angeles

As the U.S. Navy sends its two massive medical ships to New York City and Los Angeles to provide additional hospital beds and free up local resources to treat COVID-10 patients, FirstNet-AT&T is boosting its coverage in both locations in support of the ships’ communications needs.

The carrier said that it has ensured that USNS Comfort has sufficient Band 14 coverage in New York harbor, and also has deployed a cell on wheels in Los Angeles to support the naval ship Mercy. Overall, AT&T reports that as of this morning, it has 14 portable cell sites in operation and has deployed more than 28 during the COVID-19 response thus far, to boost coverage for FirstNet customers. The carrier said that FirstNet network performance has been “excellent.”

AT&T has stepped up its FirstNet offerings as public safety agencies respond to the pandemic, with a new interactive coronavirus disease dashboard available in its Local Control portal. The dashboard was created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and provides data on confirmed cases and a network status that includes hospitals and trauma centers. The carrier is also offering FirstNet-ready devices for free with a service plan and has begun a “controlled introduction” of mission-critical push-to-talk, available on the Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro device.

“The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet, the only nationwide high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders,” the carrier said in a blog post updating its response efforts [emphasis AT&T’s].

CWA’s First Responder Voice tallies FirstNet’s progress

In related news, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Department of the Navy are among FirstNet’s customers, according to a new report from First Responder Voice, which is a project of the Communications Workers of America union.

The report cited a Government Accountability Office report which said that as of last July, AT&T was at nearly 200% of its subscriber target for primary users, which include fire, law enforcement, and EMS subscribers. As of February, there were 11,000 public safety agencies and organizations that have subscribed to FirstNet and 1.2 million devices have been connected to the network, the report said.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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