FirstNet Selects AT&T for First Responder Broadband Network Project

An AT&T sign is seen outside a branch in Rolling Meadows

FirstNet's funding came from previous Federal Communications Commission Auctions.

Just days after being given the green light to select a contractor for the five-year, multi-billion dollar First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) project, officials on March 30 awarded the contract to telecom giant AT&T.

Created by an act of Congress in 2012, the First Responder Network Authority launched a tender for a network operator in January 2016.

FirstNet addresses a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission regarding communications used by police, fire, and emergency medical personnel.

There was little progress on constructing a usable interoperable national network despite years of congressional hearings, conferences, studies, proposed legislation and all manners of handwringing on all sides.

The project will cover all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five USA territories. In a statement, AT&T confirmed that the the FirstNet system will cover all 50 states, 5 USA territories and the District of Columbia, creating 10,000 jobs during the first two years and "tens of thousands" of jobs during the entire contract period.




AT&T was awarded the contract in a competitive process. "This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector". First responders also require a lot of network space; AT&T's press release states that first responders use more than 10,000 networks for voice communications.

AT&T plans to spend about $40 billion over the next 25 years to build a broadband network reserved primarily for public safety officers.

"This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority", Stephenson commented. "We applaud FirstNet for its expeditious work to finalize this decision, and we believe AT&T understands the challenges of this project and has the experience and leadership needed to drive it forward".

During the 9/11 attacks, emergency service first responders were unable to efficiently co-ordinate due to using different radio frequencies.

"I congratulate FirstNet and AT&T".

The FTSE 250-listed firm said Inmarsat Government will work with AT&T to deliver satellite communication solutions as part of the network. The first portion of the plan, the RAN network, will be an opt-in program and FirstNet said it will not carry any costs for the state agencies.

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