AT&T Expects to Begin FirstNet Network Buildout this Year
Thursday, May 11, 2017 | Comments

An AT&T executive said the company plans to begin building the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) network later this year.

Bill Hogg, president, technology operations, said the carrier expects to begin network buildout in late 2017 and have construction in full swing in 2018. He made the comments at the Jefferies Technology Group Investor Conference in Miami.

For the release of state plans, Hogg offered a similar timeline to what CEO Mike Poth wrote in a blog earlier this month. In that blog, Poth said that AT&T and FirstNet officials expect draft state plans to begin coming out sometime in June.

“I think we will start to present designs to states starting in the June timeframe, and about 90 days after that, they will make a decision about whether to opt in,” Hogg said.

When asked about the buildout timelines Hogg outlined, a FirstNet spokesperson referred to Poth’s blog, saying that the topic had been covered there. FirstNet and AT&T officials previously said they hope to offer pre-emption services on AT&T’s network for users in opt-in states by the end of the year.

The FirstNet network represents a benefit to not only first responders but also the company’s consumer wireless subscribers, Hogg said.

“When first responders aren’t using it on a priority basis, that capacity becomes available to our consumers and business customers that are using the wireless network,” he said. “That’s a big advantage to have a nationwide 20 megahertz of spectrum that hasn’t been deployed yet for both our commercial customers and FirstNet.”

The FirstNet contract also provides access to a market that AT&T hasn’t traditionally had a lot of penetration in — first and secondary responders, Hogg said.

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