The US’ planned national emergency services network FirstNet secured support from all 50 states, two territories and Washington DC – giving the green light for build-out across the country in early 2018.
Universal mainland acceptance for the AT&T built service looked unlikely as late as mid-December as New Hampshire opted-out, wider criticism was raised, and several other states were slow to commit.
However, following the December 28 deadline, the public-private partnership confirmed it had gained the support of all states. Three US overseas territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands have an extended deadline of March 12 to make a decision on adopting the service.
Hailing support for the project, First Responder Network Authority board chair Sue Swenson said: “This is a landmark day and monumental achievement for public safety – one that has been years in the making. There are many who said this network would never happen, but public safety never gave up on their network.”
“Because of their vision and hard fought efforts, I can proudly say that this life-saving network is now a reality across America; FirstNet is going to enhance the safety and security of our first responders and the people they serve.”
AT&T won the contract to build-out the part government-funded network in March 2017, but the planning process has since faced criticism from politicians, for a perceived lack of transparency and providing limited detail on how the system will work on a state-by-state basis.
In December New Hampshire became the first to opt-out of FirstNet in favour of a public safety contract with rival provider Rivada. However, ahead of the deadline, New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu reversed the decision and opted-in.