Majority of States Back FirstNet Plan

With the addition of Alabama, over half the states have signed on to FirstNet, the emergency broadband network being run by AT&T in a private-public partnership.

According to FirstNet, Alabama governor Kay Ivey agreed to accept the FirstNet-AT&T state plan after checking out alternatives via requests for proposals, making it the third state to check out other options but opt for FirstNet, it said.

Verizon, for one, has signaled it, too, will offer an emergency communications network. States are not required to sign up for FirstNet, but whatever emergency network operation they come up with has to be interoperable with it.

Related: Verizon to Build Own Public Safety Network

Alabama makes 26 states that have agreed to the FirstNet plan. “FirstNet and AT&T are extremely pleased to have delivered the network plan that best meets Alabama’s unique needs," said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth of the most recent sign-up.

FirstNet also announced it had sent plans to Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa after consulting with those U.S. territories.

FirstNet was created by Congress and funded through FCC spectrum auctions—specifically the AWS-3 auction.

(Photo viaFirst Responder Network Authority’s Flickr. Image uploaded on June 29, 2017 and used perCreative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)

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.