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AT&T secures FirstNet win after nationwide thumbs up

AT&T Office (2)

AT&T’s plan to design and build a dedicated nationwide public safety broadband network has received the green light as all 50 states, two territories and Washington DC say yes.

The network itself was proposed as a way to combat the communications challenges that first responders had to contend with following the terrorist incident on September 11 2001, and the days following. While generally accepted as a good idea, there was a risk of support falling short as certain states pokes holes in the plan. The FirstNet opt-in/opt-out period ending just before the New Year, granting the green light.

“Our FirstNet offering will forever change the way first responders communicate,” said Chris Sambar, SVP for FirstNet at AT&T.

“Securing 53 opt-ins is significant for the public safety personnel that this network will serve. And we’re honoured to give first responders across the country quick access to this life-saving solution.”

While there are many advantages to the network, perhaps the biggest is prioritization. First Responders will have immediate and priority access to AT&T’s LTE communications network, should there be an incident anywhere in the country.

Now that the opt-in/opt-out consultation has been completed, AT&T expects the official go-ahead from the US Government in early 2018, with construction to kick off almost immediately afterwards. AT&T has pledged $40 billion to the construction of the network, with potential to open the plan up to other US territories in the future.

“FirstNet is the network for public safety,” said Sambar. “2017 was about planning, preparing and moving quickly to bring public safety a meaningful option – one they can rely on without delay. We’ll build on that groundwork in 2018 with transformative capabilities that will make FirstNet the most valuable communications system for first responders.”

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