Public Safety Networks FAQ

FAQ Index


    Why do we need a public safety offering?

    The purpose of a public safety network is to provide wireless communications to police officers, firefighters and other public safety and support personnel in times of an emergency.  During a crisis situation, network congestion can occur making it difficult for public safety personnel to communicate and maintain connectivity.  Public Safety plans offer network priority and preemption which allows personnel to maintain emergency communications, coordinate with all public safety agencies and perform their jobs during critical situations.

    What is Priority and Preemption?

    Priority and Preemption are features that are used only when the network is overloaded, and congestion occurs.  Priority moves public safety personnel to the front of the "communications line," prioritizing their network needs.  Preemption goes a step further ensuring public safety personnel have access to the network first, even if services to lower priority users are denied.

    Should I have Wireless Priority Service (WPS) on my line?

    Yes! The WPS program provides federal, state and local governments, as well as other authorized national security and emergency preparedness users, network priority in an emergency or crisis situation when wireless network congestion occurs. A line with WPS simply dials a code, plus the 10-digit destination number, and the call receives a calling queue priority over regular calls, thereby greatly increasing the probability that the call will get through the network.  WPS is the highest level of priority that can be assigned to a user on a wireless network.

    Who qualifies for public safety offerings?

    Eligible users are those public safety entities that serve as first responders, entities whose primary mission and job function is to provide services to the public in the areas of law enforcement, fire protection, emergency medical services, emergency call dispatching and emergency management.

    Am I required to use AT&T FirstNet or Verizon Wireless Public Safety?

    State of Illinois public safety personnel have the option of choosing AT&T FirstNet or Verizon Wireless Public Safety.  Both carriers offer public safety plans with priority and preemption.  Before deciding which network to choose, be aware of the wireless carrier's coverage in your area.

    Do I need to purchase new equipment?

    Current Verizon Wireless lines that switch to Verizon Public Safety plans do not need to purchase new equipment.  If you currently have Verizon Wireless and choose to switch to AT&T FirstNet plans, a qualifying device is required and may require a device purchase.  If you currently have AT&T Wireless, you may be able to use your existing device.

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