NJ adopts wireless network solely for first responders
New Jersey's first responders are getting their own wireless broadband network.
The advanced technology is designed to provide police, firefighters and paramedics with a clear communication line — not just for audio, but video and data as well — while responding to emergencies and handling large events.
New Jersey is one of the first states in the country to opt in to the FirstNet Network. Along with AT&T, FirstNet will deliver a specialized network that enhances coverage in rural areas, eases the communications experience during natural disasters, and connects first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a secure manner.
"Basically they’re at the front of the line, and there’s always room for them at the front of the line to guarantee that those conversations go through, that data is shared, that those emergency calls are able to get to the paramedics, the EMTs, the firefighters and the police officers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of how big the emergency is," FirstNet President TJ Kennedy told New Jersey 101.5.
So even during game day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, tens of thousands of spectators using their devices won't interfere with a cop's attempts to get in touch with outside help. While your phone indicates you're on the Sprint or Verizon network, for example, the first responders' devices are the only ones equipped with FirstNet service.
When Gov. Chris Christie opted in to the network in late July, public safety agencies in the state were immediately granted access to the prioritized network, Kennedy said. And in the years ahead, additional cell sites will be installed across the state to increase coverage and capacity.
And all of this comes at no cost to the Garden State. But users of FirstNet will need to pay for service.
"New Jersey is proud to take this important step for first responders in our state," Gov. Chris Christie said in a news release. "The decision to join this network means FirstNet and AT&T will deliver a highly secure, next-generation solution for our public safety community, building, maintaining and operating it at no cost and no risk to our state."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.