RESEARCH TRIANGLE  PARK – First responders will have top priority to accessing FirstNet, the new nationwide high-speed wireless network being rolled out by AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority.


Dubbed “ruthless preemption,” the feature is designed to enable emergency teams to communicate and coordinate when commercial networks can become congested.

North Carolina recently joined the growing number of states that have agreed to join FirstNet.

“Preemption will enhance priority services already available on FirstNet,” FirstNet’s partners explain.

“Priority moves first responders to the front of the “communications line,” prioritizing their network needs. Preemption goes a step further to make sure first responders can access FirstNet when they need to, 24/7/365. When the line becomes crowded, it shifts non-emergency traffic to another line, freeing up space for first responders to easily get through. Calls or texts to 911 will never be shifted from the network.”

Fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency managers, dispatch and Public Safety Answering Points are given top priority, according to FirstNet.

“The launch of preemption is a tremendous achievement for public safety personnel – who have asked for, fought for, and needed this solution for years,” said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. “We are pleased that FirstNet is the first broadband network to deliver this capability to public safety.”

AT&T won the contract to build the network.