Virginia becomes first US state to adopt AT&T's FirstNet
12 July 2017 | Natalie Bannerman
Virginia has become the first US state to opt into FirstNet, the build out plan that brings secure wireless broadband services and advanced technologies for first responders.
The deal between FirstNet and AT&T sees the two partnering together to build, operate and maintain the highly secure wireless broadband network and create new modernised devices, apps and tools for first responders, at no cost to the state for the next 25 years.
Governor McAuliffe who approved the initiative said: “I am proud that Virginia is the first state in the nation to opt in to this program that will help our first responders communicate during times of emergency. 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.”
The adoption of this new system is set transform the way in which Virginia’s fire, police, emergency services, emergency management and other safety personnel communicate and share information.The scope of the FirstNet and AT&T solution will specifically:
- Connect first responders to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner during day-to-day operations.
- Create efficient communications for public safety personnel in across the state.
- Enhance network coverage in rural areas.
- Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.
- Create life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and IoT technologies. Which has the potential for future integration with NextGen 9-1-1 networks and smart cities’ infrastructure.
“Governor McAuliffe is taking the first steps necessary to make public safety’s long-awaited vision a reality. Through his leadership, the Commonwealth of Virginia will serve as an important building block for the nationwide public safety broadband network,” said Chris Sambar, SVP at AT&T – FirstNet. “We take our responsibility to deliver this first-of-its-kind solution seriously. And we’re honored to bring the FirstNet Network to Virginia and connect its public safety community to the life-saving technologies they deserve.”
Designed with direct input from the Commonwealth’s public safety community, FirstNet will be uniquely built to address the needs of this community, which includes maritime coverage, increasing coverage in rural areas and coordination with military and federal government users.
More interestingly, Virginia first responders will now have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the nationwide AT&T 4G network, implementation of which, is expected by the end of the year. Meaning that first responders will have dedicated access to the network when they need it most.
“Public safety has spent years advocating for a nationwide network following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and today, Governor McAuliffe is helping to answer that call by joining the FirstNet network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “FirstNet will put modern technologies that citizens use every day – like smartphones and apps – into the hands of Virginia’s first responders, helping them help save lives and protect residents while creating a single, interoperable system across the Commonwealth and across the country.”