Wyoming governor makes FirstNet ‘opt-in’ announcement
Wyoming yesterday announced that Gov. Matt Mead will accept the FirstNet’s deployment plan—to be executed by AT&T—making Wyoming the second state to express its intent to “opt-in” to the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) plan.
“The State of Wyoming has participated in FirstNet consultation and outreach activities throughout the planning of the network and reviewed the details of the FirstNet State Plan,” Gov. Mead wrote in a letter to FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “I have determined that it is in the best interest of Wyoming to participate in the FirstNet deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.”
A press release distributed by the state of Wyoming notes that accepting the FirstNet state plan means that “FirstNet and AT&T take on all the risks, costs and responsibilities associated with deploying the network in Wyoming for 25 years,” and “Wyoming is not responsible for any costs for the FirstNet network.”
Under the law that created FirstNet, governors can “opt-in,” or accept the FirstNet state plan—either with formal action or by taking no action at all—or decide to pursue the “opt-out” alternative, which would make the state responsible for deploying the LTE radio access network (RAN) within its borders.
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. On Monday, Virginia became the first state to “opt-in” to FirstNet.
“Governor Mead's decision will enhance public safety communications throughout the state,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a prepared statement. “The FirstNet network will connect first responders operating across Wyoming's diverse landscape—including its rural, mountainous and remote areas, as well as federal and tribal lands. FirstNet and AT&T are pleased to have delivered a plan that meets Wyoming's unique needs, and we look forward to deploying the network across the Equality State.”
As part of its nationwide FirstNet contract, AT&T has agreed that public-safety agencies in an “opt-in” state that subscribe to FirstNet immediately will receive prioritized access across AT&T’s commercial network that leverages multiple spectrum bands. Public-safety users are slated to receive preemptive access on AT&T’s commercial network by the end of the year.
“Governor Mead is taking a leading role to make it easier for first responders to communicate across the state and across the country,” Chris Sambar, AT&T’s senior vice president for FirstNet, said in a prepared statement. “We rely on first responders to keep us safe every day. So we applaud Governor Mead's quick decision to give Wyoming's public safety community access to a first-of-its-kind network and next-generation technologies purpose-built for their needs.”
AT&T officials have stated that deployment of LTE on FirstNet’s 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum could begin as early as this year in certain parts of the country.
“We thank Governor Mead for making one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions for Wyoming's first responders and the residents they serve,” Cheryl Riley, president of AT&T Northern Plains, said in a prepared statement.
“We're proud to partner with the state to help them transform the way public safety communicates. Through this partnership, we will build upon our investments in Wyoming with a dedicated focus on our first responders. They put their lives on the line every day, and now, the Wyoming is bringing them the network they need to support their brave efforts without delay.”