Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton today announced that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making Minnesota the 23rd state—not including two territories—to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system.

“First responders across our state risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of Minnesota,” Gov. Dayton said in a prepared statement. “Modernizing our communications infrastructure will allow our courageous first responders to coordinate and respond more quickly, effectively, and safely, creating better outcomes for them and the communities they serve.”

Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman echoed this sentiment.

“The workgroups devoted numerous hours to ensure the dedicated wireless broadband network offered the tools needed for those on the front lines of an emergency,” Dohman said in a prepared statement. “FirstNet promises to change the way Minnesota’s public-safety personnel, in every corner of the state, do their jobs.”

Also applauding Dayton’s decision was Richard Stanek, a FirstNet board member who has served as the sheriff of Hennepin County, Minn., since 2007.

“Gov. Dayton’s decision to launch FirstNet in Minnesota will dramatically enhance police work across the state by giving law enforcement access to the most advanced communications capabilities available today,” Stanek said in a prepared statement. “It will also modernize communications used by fire, EMS, and other public-safety personnel, which will help all first responders maintain the safety of our neighborhoods and communities.”

Under the law that established FirstNet, governors in all 56 states and territories have the choice of making an “opt-in” decision—accepting the FirstNet deployment plan and allowing AT&T to build the LTE radio access network (RAN) within the state’s borders at no cost to the state—or pursuing the “opt-out” alternative, which would require the state to be responsible for building and maintaining the RAN for the next 25 years.

AT&T will build the FirstNet RAN in “opt-in” states or territories at no cost to each jurisdiction, although local public-safety entities will be responsible for paying subscription costs and end-user device expenses. However, the law that established FirstNet stipulates that individual public-safety agencies and potential first-responder users are not required to subscribe to the FirstNet service.

“Gov. Dayton’s decision to join FirstNet will enhance public-safety communications throughout the state," FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a prepared statement. "This network will connect first responders operating across Minnesota, from the populous centers of the Twin Cities to remote areas near the Canadian border. FirstNet and AT&T are pleased to have delivered a plan that meets Minnesota’s unique needs, and we look forward to bringing the network to public safety throughout the Land of 10,000 Lakes."