AT&T is enabling individual members of the US emergency services to sign up to FirstNet at over 5,300 of the company’s retail stores as well as online.

According to a statement released by the MNO, the move is primarily to give volunteer first responders the opportunity to access the network independent of their organisation, which may not have its own broadband service contract.

Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet, said: "FirstNet is public safety's network. It's giving them access to tools they've never had before; tools that can transform their emergency response.

"Now, no matter where they live or work, first responders can easily subscribe to their network. This means public safety nationwide will no longer be limited by outdated or unreliable communications capabilities."

Pennsylvania Fire chief Ron Oettel said: "According to the latest findings from the National Fire Protection Association, 70 per cent of firefighters in the US are volunteer. That's more than 800,000 of us who are often the first to respond to emergencies in small and rural communities across the country.”

Individuals signing up to receive the FirstNet SIM card will be known as ‘subscriber paid users’ (as opposed to ‘agency paid users’).

Author: Philip Mason