Skip to main content

All 50 states join AT&T’s First Responder Network

On Friday, AT&T announced that all 50 states and D.C. have agreed to be part of its nationwide broadband network for first responders. In addition, two U.S. territories also agreed to participate in the network, which AT&T is building as part of a $6.5 billion government contract.

The first responder network has its genesis in the days that followed the events of September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission recommended the network as a way to combat the communications challenges that first responders had to contend with in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. In March of this year, the federal government awarded the job of creating this network to AT&T.

AT&T has cited several advantages that membership in its FirstNet program will provide to first responders. Arguably, the most important is the fact that they have immediate and priority access to AT&T’s LTE communications network. AT&T said that the FirstNet will be especially helpful to first responders in rural areas, whose coverage AT&T recently expanded, as it will provide a reliable means of communication.

It will also not cost anything for the communities that use this network. AT&T has pledged to invest $40 billion to develop FirstNet. First Responder Network Authority will also be providing success-based payments from a $6.5 billion fund raised from FCC spectrum auctions. This means that taxpayers will not be footing the bill for this program.

Currently, FirstNet consists of the 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It may also grow to include the three Pacific territories of American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands. The states had until last Thursday to join FirstNet or begin work on their own public responder network. Reuters reports that decisions from the three Pacific territories are not due until March 12, 2018.

In addition to the public safety benefits, FirstNet also provides some benefits to AT&T’s customers, as the carrier will be allowed to use its increased spectrum to provide more data to its customers when it is not being used by first responders.

AT&T says it spent most of 2017 readying its existing infrastructure to provide a solid foundation for FirstNet. In 2018, it will work to expand improve its infrastructure and expand LTE coverage.

Eric Brackett
Former Digital Trends Contributor
This tiny patch could be the future of wearable technology
Sweat analysis smart patch.

Over the past couple of years, the wearable segment -- think smartwatches and fitness bands -- seems to have grown stagnant in bringing newer biosensing capabilities on board. Yes, engineering in its miniaturized form isn’t easy, but at the same time, we have seen some startling advancements targeted at wearables.

The latest one comes courtesy of experts at the ​​Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The team has developed a plaster that looks like a Band-Aid, capable of analyzing sweat and finding biomarkers. In the field of microfluidics, sweat is being seen as a goldmine of health-sensing data and as the next great avenue for wearable technology.

Read more
I’ve already discovered the best thing about the Galaxy Z Fold 6
A person taking the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 out of a pocket.

Ready for a surprise? The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 is pocket-friendly. Before now, it was only just about suitable to carry around in your pocket all day, provided you didn’t mind it being a bit bulky and heavy.

Now, it’s more agreeable than my Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max in a case, and that should tell you everything you need to know about the engineering advances Samsung has made with the latest big-screen foldable.
I'm pleased to see the Z Fold 6
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Read more
The Xiaomi Mix Fold 4 just raised the bar for folding phones
Xiaomi Mix Fold 4 blue foldable phone.

The foldable phone category is overspilling with options beyond Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold and Flip devices. The newest entries are two foldables from Xiaomi, including the book-style Xiaomi Mix Fold 4, which raises the bar for foldables across the board.

The Mix Fold 4 is Xiaomi's fourth foldable and also the thinnest and lightest one to date. It measures 4.59mm in thickness when unfolded and 9.47mm rolled back. Xiaomi says the hinge has been shrunk significantly without compromising its strength, while the internals are reinforced with carbon fiber plates to make the overall build lighter than previous generations. The curved edges on the screen and the back make the phone much more ergonomic and easier to hold.

Read more