Virginia recently became the first state to opt into a plan by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T for a wireless public safety broadband network.
The decision became official on Wednesday with a ceremonial letter-signing by Gov. Terry McAuliffe at FirstNet Headquarters in Reston. Public safety personnel from across the state attended the event.
“While this is only the beginning of the process, I look forward to the continued coordinated efforts among Virginia, FirstNet, and AT&T to provide public safety officials with innovative new technologies that will help them keep Virginians safe,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe.
FirstNet and AT&T will build, operate and maintain the network at no cost to the state for the next 25 years.
The goal of the network is to improve and modernize communications between public safety personnel. By the end of the year, the state’s first responders will be able to obtain immediate access to voice and data across the existing AT&T long-term evolution (LTE) network.
The network will improve coverage in rural areas, create jobs and infrastructure investments and give first responders access to public safety apps and Internet of Things technologies, according to a FirstNet news release.
Wyoming followed suit just a day later. Gov. Matthew Mead announced on Tuesday his approval of the buildout of the public safety network. "FirstNet will be an asset for emergency personnel across Wyoming,” Mead said. “This is a tool that allows for better communication and faster response.”