New Jersey Joins FirstNet

New Jersey is the latest state—number six in the queue—to agree to the AT&T-FirstNet plan for rolling out the first responder interoperable communications network funded with FCC spectrum auction proceeds.

“New Jersey is proud to take this important step for first responders in our state," said Governor Chris Christie. "The decision to join this network means FirstNet and AT&T will deliver a highly secure, next-generation solution for our public safety community, building, maintaining and operating it at no cost and no risk to our state." 

“I remember hearing from public safety officials during Superstorm Sandy how dangerous it could be when their radios were not interoperable," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. "That's why I want to congratulate everyone in the private and public sectors who came together to support our first responders. But we will all be better off when FirstNet is truly nationwide, so I encourage other states to follow New Jersey's lead and quickly opt in to the network.” 

“New Jersey has been at the forefront of public safety broadband, and with Governor Christie’s decision to join FirstNet, the state is once again leading the nation,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth of the additional state partner.

States can come up with their own networks and plans, so long as they are interoperable with the AT&T-FirstNet network. In fact, Verizon was calling on the FCC this week to insure that if other network providers—like, say, Verizon—teamed up with states on their own nets, the FCC would make sure that interoperability "can be achieved through alternative network configurations," saying that "states should have the same flexibility as FirstNet to select partners for deploying and operating such a network."

(Photo viaFirst Responder Network Authority’s Flickr. Image uploaded on July 18, 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.