As the months-long pandemic crippled states all across the U.S., FirstNet and AT&T helped connect tens of thousands of New England subscribers to support public health and safety amid the COVID crisis. In a press release by AT&T Northeast, the company confirmed the deployment of Band 14 spectrum – a lane dedicated to FirstNet subscribers to protect against commercial traffic congestion – across New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Events in these states proved the value of FirstNet subscribership when challenged with emergency response related to COVID. With a newly deployed FirstNet mobile satellite cell tower, Bar Harbor Maine’s Mount Desert Island Hospital was able to effectively manage emergency communications during the influx of COVID-19 patients.
“Serving an Island community is challenging. Within the first few days of the COVID-19 lockdown, AT&T reached out to offer support. When we reported that our Emergency Department had poor to no cellular signal, the FirstNet team went into action. Within days we received a portable tower, repeaters and a superb cell signal in our Emergency Room,” said Will Houston, Manager of IT Security at Mount Desert Island Hospital.
Steve Staffier, Massachusetts’s Director of City of Chelsea Emergency Management/Communications praised FirstNet’s quick delivery of devices to keep emergency response teams connected. “The City of Chelsea had one of the largest concentrations of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We turned to FirstNet to provide connectivity at the Command Post at our COVID-19 quarantine shelter site,” he said.
During the height of the pandemic on March 31, the Milton, New Hampshire Fire Department was able to locate the exact location of a forest fire in Pineland Park using a Strafford County Sheriff’s drone on FirstNet.
And on a lighter note, actor, filmmaker, and Newton, MA native John Krasinski announced the FirstNet Nurses and Doctors Appreciation Offer on his digital show “Some Good News,” where he covers only positive news from around the world.
“When they found out we were honoring our healthcare heroes, AT&T reached out and asked how they could help. I said maybe you could cover the cell phone bills of every doctor and nurse in America for a month. Their response: how about three?! Yep you heard that right, every single nurse and doctor in this country, three months free!”
Accounting for more than 1.3 million connections comprised of more than 12,000 public safety agencies and organizations, FirstNet has successfully proven to be the most effective and efficient source for providing first responders the reliable coverage they need to serve the public and address public safety crises, according to the release.
Patricia Jacobs, President, AT&T Northern Region, said, “Our AT&T and FirstNet team here in New England will continue to work closely with state and local officials and agencies to continue expanding this unique public safety resource. We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring our region’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need.”
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