First responders serving the Red Cliff Reservation on Lake Superior in Bayfield County, Wis., will soon be getting a major boost in their access to broadband communications with the addition of a new, purpose-built cell site. The site – located on tribal land north of the Legendary Waters Casino & Resort – is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place in Wisconsin, which is bringing increased coverage, capacity and capability to first responders across the state. Additionally, the new FirstNet site will give Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s (Red Cliff) first responders access to the fastest overall network experience.1
FirstNet is the nationwide, wireless communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and Public Safety community. Backed by Congress, it’s designed to modernize Public Safety communications, helping first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. FirstNet is for all first responders – whether rural, tribal, urban or suburban. That’s why extending the FirstNet network in rural, tribal and remote parts of America is a top priority.
This site will be located near the Apostle Islands in the northern part of the reservation. Public safety stakeholders identified this location as a prime spot for increased network coverage and capacity to better support emergency communications.
“When emergencies happen, it is critical that Tribal law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics have the reliable communications tools they need to keep the tribal members and surrounding community safe while also protecting visitors to Tribal lands,” said Theron Rutyna, IT director, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “Breaking ground on this new cell site will not only support the Public Safety mission, but it will also pave the way for new technical capabilities and innovations – furthering economic opportunity and extending access to telehealth, online learning and overall communications during emergencies.”
FirstNet is being built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. Beyond elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, the new site will help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area.
It is being constructed using the FirstNet Band 14 spectrum, as well as other spectrum bands in the AT&T commercial spectrum portfolio. Communities can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
“Wisconsin’s first responders need reliable coverage to help them effectively and efficiently address emergency situations. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Scott VanderSanden, president, AT&T Wisconsin. “We worked closely with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to successfully reach this stage of the network buildout and I am happy to see this new site will increase the reach and reliability of the network to better support the Public Safety mission and bring first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need.”
As part of its government program, the FirstNet Authority consulted with Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to address the Public Safety communications needs on the reservation with regard to the deployment of FirstNet.
“The FirstNet Authority is honored to support the responders of the Red Cliff Reservation in their critical, lifesaving work,” said FirstNet Authority Board Member Paul R. Patrick. “We are working hand-in-hand with Red Cliff to understand their needs for the network and are pleased to see them leading the way on FirstNet as the first tribal community to break ground on a new FirstNet site. We look forward to supporting tribal communities2 from across the country as they use FirstNet to help their first responders save lives and protect communities.”