HUNTSVILLE — Public and private sector leaders on Thursday announced that Redstone Arsenal is set to benefit from enhanced wireless communications by way of AT&T’s FirstNet.
FirstNet was created to provide for efficient and high-quality communications in support of the first responder community, enabling access to reliable infrastructure during pressing emergency events.
The telecommunications company’s high-speed connectivity service will serve to enhance voice and mobile broadband coverage on the Army base, supporting always-on services across voice and data communication pathways.
Redstone Arsenal is the first installation in the world to receive the emergency-oriented communication service.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the U.S. Army post, Gov. Kay Ivey applauded the collaborative effort in bringing the critical communications infrastructure to Redstone Arsenal.
“The collaboration of the U.S. Army and FirstNet will provide U.S. Army public safety personnel – firefighters, law enforcement and security – at 72 Army installations including Redstone Arsenal with increased capabilities to communicate as effectively and efficiently as possible, to best protect themselves and those they serve,” said Ivey. “We are honored to have the U.S. Army Materiel Command headquartered in Alabama and proud to celebrate the FirstNet build at Redstone Arsenal.”
We’re taking a major step forward today to ensure our first responders have access to critical broadband infrastructure. Thank you @FirstNet for making @TeamRedstone the 1st installation worldwide to receive First Net Emergency Communication coverage. #alpolitics @USArmy @ATT pic.twitter.com/VImAb9ju7l
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) December 2, 2021
Ivey, on behalf of the state of Alabama, in 2017 opted in to FirstNet, which will serve to provide Alabama first responders enhanced capabilities to communicate during emergency crises.
Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker touched on the critical need for reliable communications infrastructure.
“Without communication, agencies cannot achieve the interoperability needed to bring vital resources to bear, especially when lives are at stake and time is of the essence,” advised Walker. “FirstNet gives us this capability. Security and safety of everyone who lives and works on this installation is job one. FirstNet is absolutely essential in that priority and pivotal in our efforts to improve the resilience of our installations. It is in a word, a game-changer.”
During the planning process of FirstNet, AT&T sought and received feedback from the U.S. Army to ensure the service met the needs of public safety personnel.
Chief Richard Carrizzo, First Responder Network Authority board of directors vice chair, spoke to the organization’s planning process in partnership with governmental entities.
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for all first responders, and we are proud to support the collaboration between FirstNet and the U.S. Army to help public safety personnel working on bases stay connected and protected,” proclaimed Carrizzo. “As we planned for this network, we worked hand-in-hand with our federal government partners, as well as the state of Alabama and its public safety community to understand the unique needs for the network across the state including at the Redstone Arsenal. These new sites are prime examples of how that input and feedback is becoming reality.”
In addition to improving public safety communications activities, the infrastructure will enhance coverage for Redstone Arsenal tenants such as the FBI and NASA, as well as the base’s visitors.
AT&T Alabama president Wayne Hutchens outlined the telecommunications company’s commitment to the first responder community.
“U.S. Army public safety personnel deserve reliable coverage to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And, with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” declared Hutchens. “At AT&T, we have long been committed to serving the public safety community and view it as both our obligation and our honor. We are proud to support the public safety mission at Redstone Arsenal by bringing greater access to the connectivity they need.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL