RESTON, Va., Aug. 1, 2017—New Mexico is paving the way for advancements in public safety communications technology. Today, Governor Susana Martinez announced her decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T* plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the State’s public safety community. This will make New Mexico the 9th state or territory to “opt-in” to FirstNet and bring advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.
“We have to keep doing more to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Susana Martinez. “I worked closely with law enforcement as a prosecutor for 25 years. I’ve seen firsthand the need for a streamlined and modernized communication network for our men and women in uniform. This system will help them save more lives.”
AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for New Mexico’s public safety community at no cost to the State for the next 25 years. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools just for first responders.
The FirstNet network will transform the way New Mexico’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:
- Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies and supporting large events, like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
- Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the State during natural disasters. This includes large wildfires like the one experienced in 2012 that burned more than 170,000 acres in the Gila National Forest.
- Enhance network coverage in rural areas, benefitting first responders that serve the 690,000+ residents spread across rural New Mexico.
- Provide first responders with access to dedicated network deployables for additional coverage and support when needed.
- Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the State.
- Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies. It also carries the potential for future integration with NextGen 9-1-1 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.
“This is a great step in making our communities safer,” said Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Scott Weaver. “I spent years as a State Police officer driving around New Mexico in a squad car—in and out of every community in the state. I know firsthand just how exciting this improvement is for our men and women who put on the uniform.”
“We are proud of this partnership and the DOIT team will keep doing everything we can to support our partners in the law enforcement community,” said Department of Information Technology Cabinet Secretary Darryl Ackley. “The Department will do everything we can to work with our technology partners at FirstNet and AT&T to deploy this system and help them make sure it is completely reliable for our men and women who put their lives on the line for us every single day.”
The FirstNet solution that will be built in New Mexico was designed with direct input from the State’s public safety community. FirstNet has been engaging with New Mexico’s officials and public safety personnel for years to address their unique communication needs. This includes:
- Expanding coverage in rural and tribal areas, including New Mexico’s Bootheel
- Enabling state, local, tribal and federal agencies to effectively communicate and coordinate along the border
- Increasing capacity during emergencies and natural disasters through the use of deployables
“Governor Martinez’s decisive action to join FirstNet demonstrates New Mexico’s strong commitment to public safety,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “The FirstNet network will connect first responders operating across New Mexico’s diverse landscape—including its rural, mountainous and remote areas, as well as federal and tribal lands. FirstNet and AT&T are pleased to have delivered a plan that meets New Mexico’s unique needs, and we look forward to equipping first responders with the communications tools they need every day and in every emergency.”
The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. New Mexico’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.
Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it—24/7/365, like their mission.