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FirstNet Adds Georgia

Make that 33 FirstNet opt-ins.

According to both FirstNet and its partner in the national emergency response broadband network, AT&T, Georgia is the 33rd state or territory to opt in to the system.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal accepted the FirstNet has signed up for the plan.

That follows North Carolina Nov. 15.

The network is being managed by AT&T in a public-private partnership, with AT&T getting access to the new spectrum allocated for the network and FirstNet getting priority use of that spectrum and AT&T's network in times of emergency.

States can opt out of the FirstNet state plan and come up with their own alternative with another partner—a point Verizon has made in launching its own public safety net—but they must be interoperable with FirstNet, which was created by Congress at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and funded through FCC spectrum auction proceeds.

Florida could be the next sign-up. According to FirstNet, the state's FirstNet executive committee has recommended opting in.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.