I fear first responders in rural Arizona with it's large rural population many living miles from major highways and roads won't see FirstNet service for years. I know we have areas on Rt66 around Truxton with no coverage. Areas like Chloride have no service and there are two cell towers 4-5 miles away. The antennas point up and down highway 93 not toward Chloride. Driving to Phoenix the other day I found AT&T has no coverage in a large area between Wickenburg and Wikieup.
Until we see how quickly the build-out of the radio access network (RAN) is completed in rural Arizona FirstNet will be used in major population areas with current AT&T service.
First responders looking at FirstNet need to see how quickly the RAN mobile hotspots will be put into service. These hotspots can be embedded in command vehicles used by fire chiefs, sheriff and police supervisors to serve as a backhaul providing access to the FirstNet core network over satellite or other types of wireless infrastructure.
Also who pays for the Radio Access Network (RAN) Mobile Hotspots? AT&T is going to receive $6.5 Billion over the next 5 years. Is AT&T going to provide Mobile Hotspots for first responder agencies in rural Arizona? Most any rural agency will have areas with no current AT&T coverage once you get a few miles from any major highway or road.
Recently Verizon Wireless has said it's starting it's own First Responder Network. In most states Verizon has always had better coverage in sparely populated states than other providers.
WirelessWeek.com As part of the 25-year agreement, AT&T will get 20 MHz of prime, clear 700 MHz spectrum and “success-based” reimbursements totaling $6.5 billion over the next five years to support construction of an IP-based, high-speed mobile network that gives priority access to first responders.
The Radio Access Network (RAN) From FirstNet.gov
- The RAN portion of the network consists of the radio base station infrastructure that connects to user devices. RAN includes cell towers as well as mobile hotspots embedded in vehicles that backhaul to the core network over satellite or other types of wireless infrastructure.Comprehensive RAN planning is required to optimize coverage, capacity and performance for a nationwide network. Initial modeling has shown that tens of thousands of radio base stations are needed to cover at least 99 percent of the population and the national highway system. Population coverage alone won’t suffice for public safety. State by state, FirstNet needs to understand public safety coverage needs.