FirstNet Update: First month of partnership yields significant progress


FirstNet & AT&T, the public-private partnership to establish America’s first nationwide public safety broadband network, has been rapidly developing implementation plans since the $46.5 billion deal with AT&T was announced just over one month ago.

FirstNet will give first responders access to the network via smart phones, laptops, and specialty devices. In addition to AT&T’s commitment to investing about $40 billion over the 25-year life of the contract to develop and build the network, FirstNet will also use AT&T’s existing network infrastructure, valued at more than $180 billion. AT&T also recently announced they will roll out an additional 40 MHz of commercial spectrum in conjunction with the 20 MHz of FirstNet spectrum further expanding the network’s capacity.

Along with AT&T’s partners Motorola Solutions, General Dynamics, Sapient Consulting and Inmarsat Government, the team has rapidly been working on the FirstNet State Plans, expected in draft form this June, three months ahead of FirstNet’s original target timeframe. Completing the draft of the State Plans is the first step in the process of developing the network, where Governors will be provided information on how FirstNet will deploy the network in their state or territory. The team has also been working on the development of an online portal that states and territories will use to coordinate and receive the plans.

The State Plans will include how FirstNet’s Radio Access Network (RAN) is to be built, including planned phases of deployment, network policies, and dedicated services and capabilities. FirstNet will be built, operated, and maintained at no cost to the state, and there is no requirement for public safety agencies to use the network. States can also opt-out if they wish to build the RAN themselves, but states that choose that option will be required to meet interoperability and financial sustainability requirements as well as make the required 25 year commitment to support the network.

Once a governor opts-in and accepts the FirstNet State Plan, public safety agencies will have preemption services available to them on all AT&T LTE bands expected as early as the end of this year, without having to wait while FirstNet deploys Band 14 for public safety.

As the plans are being finalized, FirstNet has been consulting with public safety leaders in each state on the development of their State Plan, including key advisors to the governors to inform them about the network and understand their expectations and needs. FirstNet is engaging in in-depth market research to meet the unique public safety requirements on a state-by-state basis, striving to design a network for public safety, by public safety.



About Jesse Petrilla

Recommended for you