The U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday became the first U.S. territory to “opt-in” to the FirstNet network, following Gov. Kenneth Mapp’s decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the territory’s public safety community, helping first responders save lives and protect communities, the carrier announced.
“The USVI participated in FirstNet consultation and outreach activities throughout the planning of the network and reviewed the details of the FirstNet State Plan,” Mapp said.
“I have determined that it is in the best interest of the USVI and the country to participate in the FirstNet deployment of the National Public Safety Broadband Network,” he said.
AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a secure wireless broadband communications network for the USVI’s public safety community at no cost to the territory for the next 25 years. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools just for first responders, the carrier said.
The FirstNet network will transform the way the USVI’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:
- Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies and supporting large events, like the Annual Carnival Festivals on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas;
- Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the territory during natural disasters, including hurricanes and tropical storms;
- Enhance network coverage for first responders, residents and visitors alike across the islands and their coastlines;
- Drive infrastructure investments across the territory; and,
- Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies.
Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365.