Illinois and Colorado both announced today that they will opt into the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), allowing FirstNet’s network partner, AT&T, Inc., to build their radio access networks (RANs) rather than seeking to contract with vendors to build their own RANs. They join thirty-six other states and two territories that previously reached the same decision. 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.
“Opting in to the FirstNet emergency responder network is an important advance for public safety in Illinois,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner (R.). “FirstNet’s technology will help us keep important lines of communication open when we most need them.”
“Gov. Rauner’s decision to join FirstNet demonstrates his strong support and dedication to public safety throughout the state,” said First Responder Network Authority Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “We are honored to serve Illinois’ first responders and deliver to them a reliable, broadband communications network that will help them save lives and protect communities.”
AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza said, “Gov. Rauner’s decision to opt-in to FirstNet shows public safety is a top priority in Illinois. The Governor’s action provides Illinois first responders with immediate access to FirstNet’s life-saving communications tools, and we are proud to support first responders’ mission to protect the people of Illinois every day.”
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D.) said, “We are opting in to allow FirstNet to make an investment in Colorado that promises to make our state more resilient against threats to our safety. We, together with Colorado’s Governing Board, are confident that the investment will not only benefit public safety, but also provide much needed telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas of our state.”
Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade, who chaired the board that reviewed the state’s options, said, “We need to connect our first responders now. From rural to urban communities, public safety professionals throughout Colorado put their lives at risk every day responding to disasters and critical situations. That is why the state of Colorado spent years visiting with public safety teams statewide, thoroughly reviewing solutions for Colorado. Our conclusion: opting in to FirstNet is the best solution for Colorado.”
Mr. Poth of FirstNet said, “FirstNet has worked closely with Colorado’s dedicated public safety community and the state of Colorado to ensure the best possible plan for the state, its first responders and residents. I want to thank Gov. Hickenlooper for his thoughtful, thorough decision. Colorado has been on the forefront of testing public safety broadband, and FirstNet and AT&T are excited to continue this partnership to deliver innovation for the brave men and women on the front lines.”
Roberta Robinette, president of AT&T Colorado, said, “We applaud Gov. Hickenlooper for recognizing the benefits of opting in to the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T state plan for Colorado. It’s been a very thorough process to ensure Colorado’s first responders have the best tools to respond to crises. From wildfires and snowstorms to crowded events in downtown Denver, public safety tackles significant challenges every day. They have asked for and deserve a dedicated communications network to help them do what they do best: save lives. And we’re proud to work with Colorado to deliver this much-needed network.” —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org