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How to Improve Public Safety Communication with FirstNet and Band 14

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With demands on emergency personnel exacerbated by large-scale emergencies like natural disasters, first responders on the scene should never have to struggle to communicate when cellular networks are congested. There’s a desperate need for effective emergency response nationwide, which is why legislators called for the creation of FirstNet, a dedicated wireless broadband communications platform available exclusively to public safety.

FirstNet is unique as a public safety communications platform because of its use of Band 14, a high quality spectrum that excels in both rural propagation and in-building penetration. While FirstNet users utilizes all AT&T LTE band spectrum, their initial connection is defaulted to Band 14. Public safety agencies – and those entities who support them – can only take advantage of FirstNet Band 14 connectivity if their phones and wireless devices are tested and approved for use on FirstNet. Panasonic is committed to equipping agencies with the technology they need. That’s why the TOUGHBOOK 33 (CF-33 EM7511) and TOUGHBOOK 54 (CF-54 EM7511) are now FirstNet Ready™, Band 14-compatible, tested and approved for use on the network, improving first responder communication.

FirstNet is Rolling Out: Are You Ready?

While Band 14 deployment continues – eventually covering more than 95% of the US population – public safety agencies are already seeing the benefits of FirstNet’s dedicated network core and priority and pre-emption services by utilizing all available spectrum on AT&T’s existing LTE network. FirstNet is already serving over 7,250 agencies with 600,000 connections. Prospective agencies need to find the right technology and devices to connect to FirstNet. That’s why Panasonic is helping agencies take advantage of Band 14 by offering FirstNet Ready devices, so first responders can experience connectivity and support, and more adequately respond to emergencies without interference from commercial network traffic.

When transitioning to new technology, there are a number of factors to consider. Assessing current IT infrastructure, the agency’s device needs and determining budget are key steps towards a personalized, best-fit FirstNet solution. By working with numerous customers in the public sector, Panasonic understands their common challenges and needs. We’ve been working closely with agencies to help ensure that the transition to FirstNet Ready devices is as seamless as possible, so that first responders have continuous service.

How FirstNet Connected Devices Can Help

Agencies that rely on commercial networks risk experiencing downtime during emergency situations due to an increase in network usage. In emergencies, this downtime can often mean the difference between life and death. FirstNet’s priority and preemption features are designed to alleviate the problem of network congestion, giving first responders priority access to the network and, when necessary, preempt commercial use of the network in favor of first responders’ traffic.  FirstNet enables public safety to gather information quicker, communicate within and between teams more effectively and improve situational awareness in the field. This accessibility provides emergency personnel with the ability to act immediately with the information they need at the touch of a button.

As a network specifically designed for public safety, FirstNet is available to both primary users – or first responders – and extended primary users – that is agencies, companies and organizations that work in tandem with first responders to support their efforts. Collaboration between the immediate response teams and these secondary agencies and resources is key to providing decision makers with the context and information necessary to best respond to a situation. FirstNet’s dedicated network core is unprecedented and integral to the success of our first responders and in turn, the livelihood of our communities.

In collaborating with FirstNet, Panasonic is equipping emergency personnel with industry-leading connected technology that they need to serve their communities during mission critical situations. In addition to continued testing and engineering of FirstNet Ready devices, Panasonic is providing end-to-end support for customers. With these support offerings and more, Panasonic has been helping agencies implement new technology and providing first responders with a smooth transition to FirstNet.

Want to learn more? Read our whitepaper to learn how your team can prepare.