AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) released their state-by-state plans for the FirstNet nationwide public safety network yesterday. Individual states will have 90 days to determine whether they want to opt in or out of the FirstNet state plans, which call for AT&T to build and operate the public safety network in that state.
According to a press release, the AT&T and FirstNet state plans detail “the coverage, features and mission-critical capabilities” that will be made available to the public safety community in a state if the state opts in. Alternatively, states can choose a different company to build and operate the public safety network in that state, but those networks must conform to established interoperability guidelines.
The FirstNet state plans were released three months ahead of schedule, AT&T and FirstNet said.
FirstNet State Plans
AT&T in late March was awarded the contract to build a nationwide public safety network. The carrier will gain access to 20 MHz of low-band spectrum for network construction. Public safety users will have priority on the network, but AT&T customers can use capacity on the network when it is not in use by public safety.
AT&T has agreed to spend $40 billion over 25 years to build and operate the network. In addition, the government provided $6.5 billion toward the cost of the network. That money was raised through the recent auction of TV broadcast spectrum, which will be repurposed for broadband use. AT&T has said that as it builds out the public safety network, it will simultaneously deploy spectrum in other bands for its commercial network – a strategy the company expects to yield cost efficiencies. Motorola said recently that it has been chosen by AT&T as a key supplier for FirstNet equipment.
According to today’s press release, a state’s decision to opt-in on the FirstNet plan will “open the door for FirstNet and AT&T to immediately begin delivering services” to that state’s public safety community and will “drive infrastructure investments and job creation.” Previously AT&T said it expected 10,000 jobs to be created as a result of the FirstNet buildout.
Other benefits to states of opting in to the FirstNet state plans, according to today’s press release, include:
- Transferring the financial, operational and technical risks of building, maintaining and upgrading the state’s FirstNet network to AT&T for the next 25 years
- Launching key network features such as priority access to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network
- Giving public safety the ability to preempt other traffic on the AT&T LTE network, a capability expected by year-end
- Competitive rates for first responders
States will use portals developed by FirstNet and AT&T to access FirstNet state plans, but those portals “are not public due to the amount of detail covered,” an AT&T spokesman said in an email to Telecompetitor in response to our question about that.