Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) announced that it has adopted the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), a dedicated nationwide broadband network for public safety organizations.

“With this tech advancement, we are equipping our first responders with new capabilities and reliable access to critical information while in the field,” said Charlie Noffsinger, associate vice president of University Police and Public Safety, said in a statement. “While the university works daily to prevent emergencies, it’s important to always be prepared. This technology will allow us to better serve those who live, work and visit University Park.”

According to Penn State, its campuses in Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Berks, Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg, and University Park are already equipped with FirstNet technology and the school plans to roll it out to its other campuses over the coming months. Public safety officers and other personnel will use FirstNet on department-issued tablet and phones.

Before the broader rollout, UPPS used relied on FirstNet, which is built via a public-private partnership with AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority, during the University Park campus’ 2019 football season.

Penn State said the network “proved valuable” because it provided UPPS with “streamlined communications for UPPS officers and key personnel during football games, including always-on priority and preemption for first responders, whereas network congestion on commercial wireless networks can make it difficult to communicate.”

Penn State is currently the largest school in Pennsylvania to use FirstNet.

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