Virginia has become the first state to sign on to the national framework for the FirstNet interoperable emergency communications network.
According to AT&T and FirstNet, the upsides for the state include enhanced rural broadband access, new infrastructure investment and jobs, public safety apps and new internet of things devices.
“I am proud that Virginia is the first state in the nation to opt in to this program that will help our first responders communicate during times of emergency,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who will preside over a ceremonial signing at FirstNet headquarters Tuesday (July 11) in Reston, Va. “While this is only the beginning of the process, I look forward to the continued coordinated efforts among Virginia, FirstNet, and AT&T to provide public safety officials with innovative new technologies that will help them keep Virginians safe.”
It was only about six weeks ago that the Department of Commerce (FirstNet is an independent authority within Commerce) announced AT&T had been awarded the multi-billion-dollar, 25-year contract to build and maintain FirstNet, the interoperable first responder public safety network proposed by the 911 Commission well over a decade ago following communication failures during the attack's tragic aftermath.
The network was funded through FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction (FirstNet, the interoperable first responder public safety network proposed by the 911 Commission well over a decade ago following first responder communication failures during the attack's tragic aftermath.).
States can submit alternative plans for deploying emergency communications, but they must be interoperable with the FirstNet national plan.