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Thread: AT&T pumps $2 billion into FirstNet's rural coverage

  1. #1
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    AT&T pumps $2 billion into FirstNet's rural coverage

    https://statescoop.com/at-t-pumps-2-...rural-coverage

    Attachment 158172

    AT&T will invest $2 billion into FirstNet to facilitate the dedicated public safety network’s rural deployment, AT&T communications chief executive John Donovan said earlier this month.

    The injection comes as the company says it expects an influx of public safety agencies subscribing to the network in the next six months, Urgent Communications reported.

    While AT&T owns the contract to build out the network and is legally mandated to provide coverage to under-served rural areas of the country, its largest competitor and owner of the industry's biggest wireless market share, Verizon, has outpaced the government contractor in those areas.

    Donovan says FirstNet is an opportunity to take back some of AT&T's commercial market in rural America.

    “If you look at where T-Mobile in wireless and Verizon in wireless are succeeding, they’re polar opposites — T-Mobile much more urban, Verizon much more rural,” Donovan said. “FirstNet gives us a great opportunity to go into the rural markets. Not only will we be building the network for first responders, it dawned on us that we should also be putting up stores and going after the consumers."

    Donovan also says that AT&T is expecting many of the public safety agencies in those areas previously only covered by Verizon to switch their service to AT&T as FirstNet is built out.

    Verizon isn't sitting on the sidelines, though — it announced the completion of its own dedicated public safety network core on the same day as AT&T earlier this year, advertising to offer virtually the same services included in the government-backed FirstNet core.

    Speaking at the MoffatNathanson Media & Communications Summit earlier this month, Donovan also said that AT&T will deploy an additional 20 MHz of wireless communication service spectrum (WCS) and 20 MHz of advanced wireless services spectrum (AWS-3) at the same time as the Band 14 deployment. It will save about a billion dollars in infrastructure costs for the company, he said, while offering 60 MHz total in additional spectrum for LTE devices.

    At the summit, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that expansion also sets the table for the next wave of wireless communication: 5G.

    AT&T will install carrier-aggregation technology with the Band 14, WCS and AWS-3 spectrums that will increase bandwidth, expand data capacity and double LTE speeds — all while paving the way for 5G services, Stephenson said. With that technology in place, AT&T won’t have to send crews out to individually upgrade the cell sites. It will be able to upgrade through software updates when the time comes for 5G.

    Stephenson said that AT&T will have 500 markets with the new technology in place by the end of the year, dramatically increasing LTE performance across the company's commercial coverage footprint while also building out FirstNet's Band 14 spectrum "before you've even gotten to 5G," he said.

    When 5G is ready, Stephenson added, the software upgrade will be all that is necessary to enable every cell site with the new tech.

    "So, we're going to touch the cell sites one time to deploy FirstNet, to deploy LTE evolution and to deploy 5G. [As] you put all this together, it's a very robust plan over the next two to three years to put all this in place, and all of it rolls together.”
    “The Internet wasn’t meant to be metered in bits and bytes, so it’s insane that wireless companies are still making you buy it this way. The rate plan is dead — it’s a fossil from a time when wireless was metered by every call or text.” John Legere 1/5/2017

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    Its great to hear they're expanding rural coverage

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    Hopefully this means some more expansion into tough areas of Vermont and New Hampshire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroSignal View Post
    Hopefully this means some more expansion into tough areas of Vermont and New Hampshire.

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    As well as upstate NY

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroSignal View Post
    Hopefully this means some more expansion into tough areas of Vermont and New Hampshire.

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    Yeah Verizon definitely wins out in northern New England as far as coverage. Hopefully firstnet will put AT&T on equal footing.
    Hartford, CT Area

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRC72 View Post
    Yeah Verizon definitely wins out in northern New England as far as coverage. Hopefully firstnet will put AT&T on equal footing.
    Actually no, Verizon doesn't cover quite a bit of southern Vermont, I'm just hoping it means AT&T will expand more into these areas where they don't already have service.

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    In the rural west, Verizon and even T-Mobile have been planning and building rural sites where at&t is a no show for quite some time now. It will be interesting to see at&t try to catch up in some of these areas. Especially VZW has been building some extremely rural sites in the western U.S for a number of years, areas where power and backhaul does not naturally exist. And after the FirstNet contract was awarded to at&t, VZW rural builds in the western U.S. only accelerated.
    Talk is cheap (remember at&t has had lots of talk about new site build over the years, including the ridiculous number of new small cells they later had to retract), and at&t has not been building new Greenfield coverage for quite some time so I am very interested to see this talk materialize.

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    I am extremely rural and rely on wireless for my home internet, do you think this would be a good reoson to upgrade to the nighthawk? I currently use a unite explore tethered via usb to a Asus router getting about 40-50mbs on average

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    While Vermont & Maine are sates that can benefit, There are 48 other states that can benefit. My point being, there are many primary, secondary and backroads, that first responders, that travel down to get to a call. While I know we will never have a cell signal on every road everywhere, FirstNet, along with a really good Wilson Booster can augment each other. Here in New Mexico, AT&T and Verizon are dead even in places for coverage. In other areas they are not. If AT&T is serious, those rural areas, that you cant get a cell signal, but fire,ems etc need to go to, it could be mutually beneficial. I know first responders who carry AT&T and Verizon due to this very issue. I also know of areas that even a trunked radio system, cant get out. Like other areas, we have some very rural areas here. They as in AT&T have a good shot here of bolstering their network and not having to piecemeal it.

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    Not to burst anyone's bubble but this isn't really expanding coverage as they're just upgrading existing sites. It's more of a capacity add with the other carriers than a footprint expansion. You might get a few new sites out of it but upgrading existing sites is the easiest way to meet the aggressive FirstNet buildout schedule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimMcGraff View Post
    Not to burst anyone's bubble but this isn't really expanding coverage as they're just upgrading existing sites. It's more of a capacity add with the other carriers than a footprint expansion. You might get a few new sites out of it but upgrading existing sites is the easiest way to meet the aggressive FirstNet buildout schedule.
    That kind of answers the question I've have for a while now. Every first responder I've met all had Verizon as a backup. In fact, some even had TMobile as a backup due to att skimping out and just not covering the most basic of spots

    Maybe things will change over time. Att has a good network but those trouble spots need to decrease
    Last edited by anthonyjones; 05-31-2018 at 07:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by @TheRealDanny View Post
    Donovan also says that AT&T is expecting many of the public safety agencies in those areas previously only covered by Verizon to switch their service to AT&T as FirstNet is built out.
    [/I]


    Quote Originally Posted by JimMcGraff View Post
    Not to burst anyone's bubble but this isn't really expanding coverage as they're just upgrading existing sites. It's more of a capacity add with the other carriers than a footprint expansion. You might get a few new sites out of it but upgrading existing sites is the easiest way to meet the aggressive FirstNet buildout schedule.
    The quote from Donovan makes me think this is going to include new coverage, as well. Time will tell.

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    Something tells me northern Minnesota will benefit from this. :-)


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    The areas that will probably benefit the most are areas where there is no low band already. However if the use of HPUE is true then everyone should benefit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeybutts View Post
    The quote from Donovan makes me think this is going to include new coverage, as well. Time will tell.

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    Perhaps it will but for the time being it seems to mainly be on either existing sites or being added to new sites that were either in permitting or construction prior to them getting the contract. Not saying it won't ever happen but just don't expect them to have a huge increase in their rural footprint in a year.

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