Partnering with AT&T and FirstNet on Extended Primary Communications

Jayna Locke Jayna Locke, Senior Marketing Manager, Digi International
March 02, 2021

Digi International first announced the release of FirstNet Ready™ Digi® cellular routers for mission-critical cellular communications in 2019, and the family has grown to include several Digi Transportation routers and Enterprise routers and extenders

Designed to meet the needs of a broad range of services and agencies that are called into action in emergency situations, FirstNet Ready™ Digi TX54, FirstNet Ready™ Digi TX64, and FirstNet Ready™ Digi EX12 are cellular devices that operate on Band 14, the high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for primary and pre-emptive communications by police, fire, healthcare and other critical services. This ensures that public cellular communications do not jam communication channels and impact the work of emergency services.

But as we will explore next, it's not just emergency services that qualify for FirstNet®.

Emergency Services Extend Beyond Police, Fire and Ambulance

Many different services are needed during emergencies and in the aftermath of catastrophic events such as natural disasters or chemical spills. For this reason, it is important to know that the FirstNet® communications network is not just restricted to police, fire and ambulance services. There is actually an enormous list of users in critical infrastructure and other city services that potentially qualify for FirstNet under the Extended Primary Users category of services.

An article from quoted a prepared statement from AT&T that summarizes the intent for the Extended Primary market:

"Extended primary subscribers are an extended community that could be called on to help support our first responders from the mitigation, remediation, overhaul, clean up and restoration to the provisioning of other services required during the time of an emergency or its aftermath. To uphold the integrity of FirstNet, eligibility for extended primary users will be rigorously reviewed before service will be approved."

In this post, we provide a summary list of the users that may qualify as Extended Primary services. Digi can help to assess your needs and qualifications, and evaluate how the FirstNet Ready™ cellular routers can support communications requirements so that your organization and community are better prepared to respond quickly in the event of an emergency. Contact us for help identifying the right solution.

Please refer to the following resources for official guidelines and additional information:

Summary List of Extended Primary Users

In addition to police, fire, ambulance and correctional facilities, the "Extended Primary" services that qualify for FirstNet include the following categories. We have listed some examples of organizations in each category.


  • Drilling oil and gas wells
  • Power generation utilities, including hydroelectric, fossil fuel, nuclear electric power, solar electric power and wind electric power generation


  • Power and communications line construction
  • Telecommunications, including wired, wireless, satellite, cellular and resellers

Alarm systems:

  • Alarm system apparatus, equipment and supplies
  • Alarm systems Manufacturing
  • Security systems services

Water and waste management:

  • Water supply and irrigation systems
  • Sewage treatment facilities
  • Waste collection, including solid waste, hazardous waste and landfill
  • Waste management including landfill, solid waste incinerators and waste treatment
  • Septic tank and related services


  • Air travel, including passenger and freight air transportation, and air traffic control
  • Short line and line haul railroads
  • Trucking and freight delivery systems
  • Commuter rail, mixed transit, bus and other urban transit systems
  • School, employee and charter bus systems
  • Postal service and private mail carriers
  • Couriers, express delivery services and local messenger services
  • Transportation administration, regulation and licensing

Health care and public health:

  • Health care providers, including general medical and surgical hospitals
  • Freestanding ambulatory surgical and emergency centers
  • Public health programs

Critical manufacturing:

  • Building construction services, including industrial, commercial and institutional construction
  • Highway, street and bridge construction
  • Water, sewer and other heavy and civil engineering construction


  • Chemical engineering services
  • Chemical building inspection services
  • Chemical environmental and scientific consulting services and protective services

Information technology:

  • Computer systems design services
  • Computer disaster recovery

Professional, scientific and technical services

  • Geophysical surveying and mapping services
  • Survey and mapping services

As Digi has been serving these public utilities, transit systems and critical infrastructure services for decades, we have the knowledge, the teams and the capabilities to support municipal infrastructure and emergency services in their assessment of FirstNet communications and how they can be better prepared in emergencies. Contact us to start the conversation.

Note: This blog post was initially published on 8/19/19 and was updated on 3/2/21.

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