FirstNet released its initial state plans on June 19 and made them actionable, so governors would have the opportunity to “opt-in” to FirstNet early, as well as after the official state plans were released on Sept. 29.

Thus far, 25 states—Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, New Jersey, West Virginia, New Mexico, Michigan, Maine, Montana, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Tennessee, Nebraska, Maryland, Idaho, Texas, Minnesota, Alabama and Indiana—have announced their “opt-in” decisions, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico territories.

Of these “opt-in” states and territories, three—Michigan, Arizona and Alabama—issued an RFP exploring alternative-RAN options before announcing the “opt-in” decision.

Governors in all 50 states are required to make the “opt-in/opt-out” decision by Dec. 28. If no decision is announced, the state will be treated as if the governor made an “opt-in” choice, and AT&T will deploy the RAN within the state in accordance with the FirstNet official state plan.

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.

AT&T officials have stated that deployment of LTE on the 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet could begin as early as this year in certain parts of the country. Public-safety agencies in “opt-in” states are eligible to sign FirstNet contracts that give first responders priority access across AT&T’s commercial networks immediately and preemptive access by the end of the year.