US awards AT&T contract to build emergency broadband network

01 April, 2017, 01:45 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • FirstNet banner

Additionally, AT&T will connect FirstNet users to the company's telecommunications network assets, valued at more than $180 billion.

AT&T, for their part, will be building out the network nationwide, with payouts totaling $6.5 billion earmarked for them over the next five years, based on their success in implementing the network.

The project is aimed at allowing police, fire and medical personnel to easily communicate during emergencies and was initially proposed in the months following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. It will begin development later this year.

The rollout of the network, which will cover will cover all states, five USA territories and the District of Columbia, will begin later this year, AT&T said on Thursday.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

FirstNet CEO Mike Poth previously indicated that following award of the contract, the organization would "immediately start work" on delivering the buildout. "It's also a sign of the incredible ability of public-private partnerships to drive innovation and solve some of our biggest problems while also creating jobs and growing the economy". Rivada Mercury plans to continue to work at the state level to build out first-responder networks.

The Arkansas Public Safety Broadband Network says after towers in the Natural State are updated with the new technologies, the network will be at full capacity by 2020. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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Several states, including IL and New Mexico, also noted uncertainty in their path forward - points of contact for both states said they were waiting for a specific plan from FirstNet before they commit.

The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs.

But others are critical of FirstNet, including the Fraternal Order of Police, which worries that AT&T will neglect rural areas where there is a more limited use of the network.

Over the life of the 25-year agreement, AT&T will invest $40 billion into the network.

AT&T said its "team" to deploy FirstNet includes Motorola Solutions (MSI), General Dynamics (GD), Sapient Consulting and Inmarsat Government.

First responders will have access to the broader AT&T network in addition to FirstNet, AT&T noted in a press release. "Everybody is going to benefit from this because that is who the first responders serve".

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