4G LTE Cellular & First Responder
Wireless Telecomm Services Planned for Rico
Commnet's Rico, Colorado cellular telecommunications site at rear of Rico Fire Station. Ore Cart photo.
- Construction contractor submits proposal to Rico Fire Protection District for new pole at existing Fire Station wireless telecommunication site.
AT&T will provide FirstNet service for first responders.
- FirstNet is a nationwide program within the US Department of Commerce.
AT&T to upgrade consumer cellular wireless service from "roaming" to "native LTE."
In a February 6, 2020 construction proposal submitted to Rico Fire Protection District, SAC Wireless Site Development Specialist Mario Castaneda explained the relationships behind the proposed Rico telecommunications upgrades, and construction details. RFPD provided this correspondence to Ore Cart February 26:
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Rico Fire Protection District
119 S Glasgow
Rico, CO 81332
I work with SAC Wireless, and we have been contracted by Commnet to work on their behalf as they are in the process of making enhancements to its wireless communications facility, located at the above-referenced address, for the purpose of providing coverage for the first nationwide broadband network for emergency first responders, FirstNet.
For this location, Rico, our proposal would involve the construction of a new stealth pole in a shifted lease area, approximately the same footprint. To avoid any potential interruption to service for their customers, Commnet will be looking to construct the new pole first, before decommission and removal of the existing pole. Please see below for a picture taken from a recent site survey which shows the proposed shifted area.
SAC Wireless photo-image of proposed changes at cellular wireless telecommunications site adjacent to Rico Fire Station. Blue square is new pole location. Red square is existing pole, which will be removed.
SAC Wireless explains the services it provides to the wireless telecommunications industry at its website:
SAC offers . . . services to support major network builds, 5G LTE upgrades and indoor/outdoor small cell and distributed antenna systems (DAS) deployments. The company's core business consists of fully integrated network solutions, specializing in site development, architectural and engineering design management, construction services and management, equipment installation, commissioning and integration, operations and maintenance.
Excerpts from firstnet.gov website:
FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Authorized by Congress in 2012, its mission is to develop, build and operate the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.
The First Responder Network Authority is the federal entity charged with overseeing the creation and delivery of the FirstNet network. Housed within the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the agency’s role is to ensure AT&T delivers on the terms of its contract and creates a network that meets the needs of public safety now and into the future.
Located at First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) tech headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab (FirstNet Lab) is a state-of-the-art laboratory in which the FirstNet Authority tests public safety functionality and features unique to the FirstNet network, including quality of service; priority; preemption; enhanced situational awareness technologies and applications; and future public safety functions, services and applications.
Commnet - AT&T relationship
Commnet Wireless and AT&T Mobility signed a $167.5 million agreement for Commnet to build and maintain a radio access network (RAN) for AT&T’s commercial and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) network in or near Commnet’s Southwest U.S. network area, according to an August 09, 2019 report at rrmediagroup.com.
Consumer cellular wireless service upgrade explained
Ore Cart contacted AT&T corporate offices via email in January 2020 to inquire if the cellular wireless service for consumers will be upgraded from "roaming" to "on-network (native)" when the Rico FirstNet upgrade is completed. This inquiry preceded the SAC Wireless construction proposal received by Rico Fire Protection District. Below, AT&T's response from Suzanne Trantow, Lead Public Relations Manager – West Region - AT&T Corporate Communications.
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February 25, 2020
Details on the Rico site:
- We are actively evaluating a site location to provide 4G LTE coverage for Rico. We are unable to provide timeline details currently.
- In addition to providing coverage for AT&T customers, the proposed build would provide first responder coverage in Rico across FirstNet, public safety’s dedicated nationwide communications platform.
- Due to an agreement with CommNet, AT&T commercial and FirstNet subscribers would be able to utilize the site as a native LTE AT&T site, instead of roaming on another company’s network.
Through our initial nationwide FirstNet expansion over the next several years, we’re increasing the coverage and capacity that FirstNet will bring to first responders.
- To ensure AT&T and the FirstNet Authority are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. (Here is the original announcement detailing Governor Hickenlooper’s support of FirstNet.)
As part of the build, we’re increasing the coverage and capacity that FirstNet will bring to first responders by rolling out Band 14 spectrum (nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet).
More than 1,000 new sites are planned as part of the build.
- When not in use by FirstNet subscribers, AT&T customers can enjoy Band 14’s added coverage and capacity.
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