New FirstNet Cell Sites Launch in North Dakota to Support Public Safety

North Dakota’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of four new, purpose-built cell sites. The sites – two located in Slope County and one each in McLean and Stark County – are part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place in North Dakota, which is bringing increased coverage, capacity and capability to first responders across the state.

FirstNet is the nationwide, wireless communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community. Mandated by Congress, it’s designed to strengthen and modernize public safety communications, helping first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. FirstNet is built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.

To ensure AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials.

“These new FirstNet tower builds are a positive development for the state, providing increased coverage and improved connectivity for North Dakota’s first responders and residents,” said Duane Schell, North Dakota Chief Technology Officer. “We look forward to additional progress in 2020.”

These are the first new FirstNet sites to be publicly announced in North Dakota following the governor’s decision to advance its public safety broadband communications with FirstNet. The site is being constructed using the Band 14 spectrum as well as AT&T commercial spectrum bands. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. Band 14 has also been added on existing AT&T sites across North Dakota.

“FirstNet is the only nationwide, high speed broadband network designed specifically for public safety,” said FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with North Dakota’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this cell site is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting North Dakota’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”

In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, the new site will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.

“North Dakota’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Cheryl Riley, president, AT&T Northern Plains States. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need.”