Utah announced today that it has decided to opt in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The state is the 29th to opt in, joining two U.S. territories. “Utah is pleased to join other states in working with FirstNet to deploy the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network,” said Gov. Gary Herbert (R.). “First responders need to have the most advanced and reliable communication technology so they can access critical information, respond efficiently, and coordinate efforts. The FirstNet plan and associated technology will give Utah and the nation the necessary tools to maximize public safety.”
“Reliable communications are critical to the safety and success of first responders and the public,” said Tom Ross, president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association. “During emergencies networks get clogged because people are simultaneously trying to communicate. We are excited that FirstNet will establish a dedicated network that prioritizes first responders’ communications.”
“Governor Herbert’s decision to make Utah the 31st state or territory to join FirstNet shows his dedication to improving public safety,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “We look forward to delivering the reliable, secure communications Utah’s first responders need over the only wireless network purpose-built for them.”
“We have worked closely with Governor Herbert, his staff and the review team convened by the Utah Communications Authority to make sure that the FirstNet network built in Utah will meet the needs of Utah’s public safety community,” said Tara Thue, director-external and legislative affairs for AT&T Utah. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to serve Utah’s first responders and look forward to collaborating with state, local and public safety leadership as we implement FirstNet.”
Meanwhile, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has written District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser (D.) urging her to opt in to FirstNet.
“If you decide to opt out and have Washington, D.C. build its own RAN, this will undoubtedly delay the delivery of services to the district’s public safety agencies. There have been estimates that this could cause a delay of service by a minimum of two years,” the IAFC said. “States and territories that opt out will assume all technical, operational, political, and financial risks and responsibilities related to building their own RAN for the next 25 years. In short, Washington, D.C. will need to ensure the interoperability of its RAN with the nationwide FirstNet network and take on the duties for ensuring its mission critical operations.”- Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org