AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) provided US states with plans to enable the rapid deployment of “the first nationwide high-speed data and voice network” for emergency services three months ahead of schedule.
The move was hailed as “a major milestone” in the deployment of the network, which is worth a total of $46.5 billion.
FirstNet is an independent body within the US Department of Commerce. In a statement Mike Poth, CEO of the authority, said: “This network will drive innovation, security and interoperability for public safety across the country. It’s what EMS [emergency medical services], fire and law enforcement spent years fighting for and need right now.”
Deployment plans will be released today (20 June) via an online portal. States and territories can spend up to 45 days reviewing the terms and offering feedback before an official 90-day clock starts for them to decide if they want to opt in or not.
If they choose to go ahead, FirstNet and AT&T will immediately begin delivering dedicated access to the network to emergency services in those areas.
The financial, operational and technical risks of building, maintaining and upgrading the FirstNet network in the state or territory will be in the hands of AT&T for the next 25 years.
It will also mean the launch of key network features including quality of service and priority access to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.
The network buildout proposed in the plans is expected to create thousands of new jobs nationwide, and drive investments across the states and territories.
FirstNet struck the long-term agreement with AT&T in March. At the time it said it would provide the operator with 20MHz of spectrum and make payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to fund the build out, with the monies coming from previous spectrum auctions.
AT&T also committed to an investment worth $40 billion over the 25 years to build, operate and maintain the network.
The operator reportedly beat off competition from a consortium consisting of Rivada Networks, Ericsson, Nokia and Intel, among others.