FirstNet Secures Final Approval

With the addition of the Northern Mariana Islands, FirstNet says it has now gotten buy-in from all 56 U.S. states and territories, plus D.C., for the state plans for the interoperable first responder broadband emergency communications network.

The network is a co-production of the government--the First Responder Network Authority.

Back in March 2017, AT&T won the contract for 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 first responder communication failures during the attack's tragic aftermath.

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While states and territories have signed on to their individual state plans, individual public safety authorities can opt to use their existing communications networks, something Verizon has been pointing out as it pitched its network for public safety.

FirstNet was created in the legislation that authorized the FCC's broadcast incentive auction and was funded by proceeds from the FCC's AWS-3 auction, and would have been funded with incentive auction money had the AWS-3 not more than covered the initial cost.

John Eggerton

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.