California Decides to Opt-In to FirstNet Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

Network Authority’s Flickr

Network Authority’s Flickr

In a recent interview, a FirstNet spokesperson characterized potential reconstitution costs incurred by states opting out and failing to create networks, then needing to join FirstNet as "estimates of the very worst-case numbers", and said FirstNet has worked closely with all states and territories to help them make the most informed decisions of whether to opt in or out.

In a statement on December 28, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu indicated that after his state's decision to opt out, talks with other governors around the country who were themselves interested in pursuing independent networks revealed the deadline was approaching "too quickly for these other states to feel confident in an opt-out decision".

Gov. Chris Sununu announced his intention to opt-in to the nationwide network for first responders after previously deciding to opt-out and go with an alternative vendor. As a result, AT&T will build and maintain the FirstNet LTE network and gain access to the 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum licensed to FirstNet in all of these states and territories, which includes the entire continental United States. New Hampshire, Mississippi and NY also joined the FirstNet project earlier Thursday.

The change comes three weeks after Sununu made a decision to opt-out of FirstNet, and award a contract to Rivada Networks for the build out of the network.

FirstNet is the country's first-ever nationwide public safety broadband network.

"We proceeded to have extensive discussions with other governors across the country to help them understand the benefits of such a system", Sununu said. Thursday was the deadline for states to opt-in or out. "Brown puts reliable communications and cutting-edge technology in the hands of California's first responders", FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a prepared statement. American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands are also eligible for inclusion and have until March 12, 2018, to decide if they want to opt out. "FirstNet looks forward to our continued partnership with the state's public-safety community".

Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced their states will be the next two members of the First Responder Network Authority, known as FirstNet.

"While we are disappointed that the regulatory and financial hurdles for opt-out ultimately proved too high, we are pleased that the state's vigorous pursuit of the opt-out path left us in a stronger position than any other state", he said.

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