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North Carolina Joins FirstNet

North Carolina as opted into FirstNet, the interoperable national first responder emergency communications network. FirstNet was proposed by the 9/11 Commission and created by Congress, funded by FCC spectrum auctions.

That makes 32 states that have opted in to their state plans for the network. States are not required to opt in, but if they want to opt for another provider--Verizon is also offering an emergency network--it must be interoperable with First Net.

States have until the end of December to opt in or go another route.

The network is a public-private partnership, with AT&T winning a 25-year contract to run the network in exchange for access to extra spectrum set aside for the purpose during non-emergencies.

“First responders deserve a state of the art communications system, and we believe this is the first step toward building that system,” said Eric Boyette, secretary of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and North Carolina CIO. “DIT has worked with public safety and IT professionals since 2014 to make sure that the people of North Carolina get the service they deserve. Ultimately, we will all be safer once this network is in place.”

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.