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20 states, territories opt-in to FirstNet initiative

The FirstNet first-of-its-kind solution will spur investment and modernize public safety communications across the nation, AT&T executives said.

More than a third of the United States has moved to modernize communications for the fire, police, emergency medical services (EMS) and other public safety personnel who protect and serve their communities, by opting-in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet.)

Already signed up to participate in the nation’s only communications platform purpose-built for public safety are: Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Hawaii; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Maine; Michigan; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; Puerto Rico; Tennessee; U.S. Virgin Islands; Virginia; West Virginia; and Wyoming.

“FirstNet will give public safety the nationwide, interoperable communications system that they’ve spent years advocating for,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “Every governor that opts in is helping to answer that call. After years fighting to achieve this mission, it’s exciting to say a third of states and territories have moved to deliver the future of public safety to their first responders.”

Puerto Rico joined the initiative late last week, as this media outlet reported.

“FirstNet is by public safety, for all of public safety,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T–FirstNet. “We’re honored to see the strong response by states and territories. It brings us one step closer to getting first responders the tools they need to transform how they communicate and respond to emergencies.”

Both AT&T and FirstNet have committed significant at least $40 billion to improve communications among first responders and members of the public safety community.

With an opt-in decision, FirstNet, together with AT&T, bears the financial risk associated with the network build in such state or territory and will require no additional financial resources from the state or territory to deploy or operate the network.

The FirstNet network is the only wireless, broadband network specially designed through consultation and feedback from public safety to ensure it meets their current and future technology needs.

In mid-September, FirstNet plans to issue updated State Plans to states and territories refined by additional stakeholder feedback.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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