Sens. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.) wrote First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth today asking him for more information on the network. “While we fully understand that the opt-in/opt-out decision rests solely with the state of Vermont, we have heard concerns from some constituents, including from some first responders themselves,” the lawmakers said.
They asked Mr. Poth to commit to ensuring that questions from the state’s Public Safety Broadband Network Commission are addressed, noting that it wrote FirstNet earlier this month “with a proposed list of sites that could be built-out to significantly improve network coverage throughout the state.”
They also said the state and residents “have raised concerns that the current coverage plan is inadequate to meet Vermont’s basic needs” and they asked FirstNet to “provide Vermont’s first responders with maps showing detailed signals levels” and inquired what recourse the state would have if AT&T, Inc., FirstNet’s network partner, fails to deliver the promised coverage. In particular, they asked about penalties that AT&T would face.
The lawmakers also asked what penalties AT&T would have to pay for failing to sign up enough subscribers and asked if those funds would “be returned specifically to Vermont for reinvestment to improve the network?”
They also asked if AT&T would provide “reliable pricing and rate information” and whether FirstNet would work with Vermont if it opts out. —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org