American Samoa formally announced today that it will opt into the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system being built by AT&T, Inc. A FirstNet spokesman yesterday had confirmed the American Samoa opt-in decision (TR Daily, Jan. 9). The Northern Mariana Islands is the last jurisdiction yet to announce that it will opt in, and it is expected to do so.
“In weighing this important decision to join FirstNet or deploy our own system, our team came to the conclusion that opting-in to FirstNet was the better solution for American Samoa and our first responders,” said American Samoa Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga (I.). “I wish to express my appreciation to the Director of Homeland Security, Samana Veavea, and Commissioner of Public Safety Le’i Sonny Thompson, and their respective staffs, for their contributions to the making of this well-informed decision. We look forward to working with AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority to deploy this network.”
“Governor Moliga’s decision to join the First Responder Network Authority will deliver innovative tools and state-of-the-art technologies to the territory’s fire, police and emergency medical services,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “With FirstNet, American Samoa’s first responders will gain access to a reliable and redundant connection over the first-ever nationwide broadband network for public safety.”
“It’s been a pleasure working with Governor Moliga to bring FirstNet to American Samoa’s first responders,” said Stephanie Tyler, president of AT&T Pacific Northwest. “We’re honored to serve public safety here on the island and across the United States.”
The Pacific U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands were given until March 12 to decide whether to seek to opt out of the FirstNet system as they received their state plans later than others. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands opted into FirstNet by a Dec. 28 deadline (TR Daily, Jan. 2), while Guam made its opt-in announcement on Jan. 4. —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org