Nevada becomes 14th state to ‘opt-in’ to FirstNet
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval today announced his decision to accept the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making Nevada the 14th state to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system.
“Public safety is of the highest concern,” Sandoval said in a prepared statement. “Increasing the safety of our residents, visitors and first responders through FirstNet was the right choice. From volunteer emergency responders in rural communities to those on the front lines in populous areas, our public-safety community deserves access to the cutting-edge technologies they need to get the job done.”
Mike Edgell, a sergeant in the Nevada Highway Patrol, echoed this sentiment.
“Public safety is our priority and, starting today, we’re embarking on a program that will change the face of how we communicate statewide,” Edgell said in a prepared statement. “The partnership with FirstNet and AT&T brings new technologies supported by a first-rate network dedicated to emergency responders to enhance our capabilities during a crisis. It will also be a helpful tool in the normal course of business and during large-scale events.”
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.
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 being released in September. Previously, 13 other states—Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, New Jersey, West Virginia, New Mexico, Michigan, Maine, Montana, Arizona and Kansas—have announced their “opt-in” decisions, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands territory.
“Gov. Sandoval’s decision to join FirstNet demonstrates his strong commitment to public safety,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a prepared statement. “This decision puts 21st-century technology over a modern, broadband platform in the hands of the state’s first responders, giving them access to the speed, bandwidth and priority services they need. FirstNet looks forward to continued efforts with public safety to ensure this network is built to meet their unique needs across the state—from remote locales to populous cities.”
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. 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.
“Fire, police and EMS put their lives on the line every time they put on a uniform,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet, said in a prepared statement. “With Gov. Sandoval’s decision, he’s giving Nevada’s brave men and women access to the innovative communications tools they need to complete their life-saving mission. It’s an honor to connect Nevada’s public-safety community to the technologies they deserve.”