With new cell site on Ocean Pearl Road, FirstNet network expands in Currituck County

Published 10:35 am Monday, February 15, 2021

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First responders in Currituck County are getting a boost in their wireless communications with the addition of a new, purpose-built FirstNet cell site and other network enhancements. This new infrastructure is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.

Located on Ocean Pearl Road, this new FirstNet cell site will connect more than 10 miles of beachfront highway. It joins other new facilities in rural North Carolina counties, including Ashe, Cleveland, Halifax, Northampton and Warren.

“This is great news for public safety and for anyone who lives, works or visits Currituck County,” said firefighter Jon Gates, president of the Carova Beach Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors. “We asked for better mobile broadband coverage in this region so we can better protect our residents and visitors. FirstNet and AT&T listened and are delivering this much-needed coverage.”

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“FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community,” stated a press release. “It’s built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.

“Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in North Carolina, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need,” the release continued.

Currently ahead of schedule, the FirstNet build has brought North Carolina first responders:

  • Purpose-built network enhancements – The Currituck County site joins other new FirstNet cell sites launched in rural North Carolina counties including Alleghany, Ashe, Cleveland, Halifax, Northampton, Transylvania and Warren. These sites were identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. AT&T also deployed Band 14 to more than 1,200 sites across the state as part of the initial FirstNet build, supporting markets including Bryson City, Leicester, Sparta, Kings Mountain, Halifax, Elizabeth City and Nags Head.
  • Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – FirstNet gives first responders unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.
  • Emergency support – North Carolina agencies on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations Group – led by a team of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.

“North Carolina’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 Trey Rabon, president of AT&T North Carolina. “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. Working with public safety we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with North Carolina’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Currituck County’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, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area, according to the press release. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14, when additional capacity is available.



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