Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley today signed a letter accepting the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T. The action makes Michigan the ninth state to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system—and the first among the states that issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a vendor partner under a potential “opt-out” scenario.

Calley signed the “opt-in” letter, because Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is in China on a trade mission. Michigan’s constitution gives the lieutenant governor the authority to act as governor when the governor is out of state, according to a press release from the state of Michigan.

“This initiative puts Michigan at the forefront once again for public safety and public service,” Calley said in a prepared statement. “The ability for public-safety agencies to communicate is critical in an emergency. The enhanced capabilities offered by FirstNet and AT&T will help ensure that those risking their lives for our safety have the tools they need. This effort also will enhance the availability of broadband service across many rural areas of the state, something that Gov. Snyder and I continue to focus on as a priority for Michigan residents.”

Michigan’s press release noted that the “opt-in” decision means the state will bear no financial responsibility for building and maintaining the FirstNet system for the next 25. In addition, the FirstNet system “will provide LTE broadband opportunities in many of the state’s rural, underserved communities, such as the Upper Peninsula,” according to the press release.

“Much of the state of Michigan is rural in nature and presents many communication challenges,” Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said in a prepared statement. “Effective and robust communication capabilities are critical to all public safety officials and the citizens we serve.”

FirstNet released its initial state plans on June 19 and made them actionable, so governors would have the opportunity to “opt-in” to FirstNet prior to the final state plans. Previously, governors in eight other states—Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, New Jersey, West Virginia and New Mexico—announced their “opt-in” decision, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands territory.

“The Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s decision to join FirstNet comes after the state considered a number of options to get the best solution for public safety,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a prepared statement. “FirstNet and AT&T are extremely pleased to have delivered the network plan that best meets Michigan’s unique needs. We look forward to connecting first responders across the Wolverine State’s diverse landscape—including its rural and tribal areas, as well as federal lands, border crossings and waterways.”

What makes Michigan unique among the “opt-in” states is the fact that it is the first state to “opt-in” to FirstNet after issuing an RFP seeking a vendor partner to build the public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN) within the state, if the state decided to pursue the “opt-out” alternative and assume responsibility for the RAN for the next 25 years.

In addition to issuing the RFP, Michigan was one of two states—New Hampshire was the other—to complete its procurement process, announcing Rivada Networks as clearly the highest-scoring bidder evaluated. New Hampshire also selected Rivada Networks at the conclusion of its procurement process.