Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D.) announced today that her state will opt into the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), allowing FirstNet’s network partner, AT&T, Inc., to build its radio access networks (RANs) rather than seeking to contract with another vendor to build its own RAN. Rhode Island joins 38 other states and two territories that previously reached the same decision. Rhode Island is also the 12th state to opt into First Net after seeking proposals from both FirstNet/AT&T and other vendors, according to FirstNet.
Thus far, only New Hampshire has said it plans to opt out of FirstNet. State governors have until Dec. 28 to make opt-out decisions. The Pacific territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands face a March 12, 2018, deadline for making opt-out notifications.
“The safety of Rhode Island first responders is of the utmost importance — and state-of-the-art interoperable communications is a major component of that,” said Peter Gaynor, director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA). “After carefully examining the findings, we concluded and made the recommendation to the Governor, that the plan put forth by FirstNet and its partner AT&T offered the lowest risk, highest value option for Rhode Island first responders.”
“Governor Raimondo’s decision today delivers FirstNet’s cutting edge, prioritized broadband communications to first responders who serve across local, state and federal levels in the Ocean State,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “FirstNet will help make Rhode Island’s communities and first responders safer with advanced communication technologies, devices and applications.”
“Bringing first responders the best possible public safety network is the shared mission of Governor Raimondo and her staff, along with AT&T and FirstNet,” said Patricia Jacobs, president of AT&T New England. “We’re pleased that Rhode Island has elected to join the growing list of states and territories opting into FirstNet. It’s a decision that will have a huge positive impact on public safety and on Rhode Island’s residents for years to come.” —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org