3 Additional FirstNet Opt Ins Announced
Wednesday, December 27, 2017 | Comments

Three new First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) opt-ins were announced — Washington, D.C. and the states of Washington and Oregon.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the district would opt in to FirstNet to create an enhanced wireless broadband network dedicated to public-safety personnel during major events and emergencies.

“D.C. is home to the bravest first responders in the country, and they must have the tools and advanced technologies to save lives and protect communities,” said Bowser. “By opting in, we are doing our job to make sure the brave men and women who protect the nation’s capital have the mission-critical broadband capabilities needed to communicate effectively and in real time.”

In November, the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) released a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a qualified contractor to provide districtwide broadband LTE services to D.C. public-safety entities and other government users.

Beginning in early 2018, public-safety communications in the district is expected to receive several significant enhancements through FirstNet’s service, which includes priority, pre-emption and increased data speeds. This enhancement will provide first responders expanded cellular coverage, increased data capacity, and greater access to data, video, images and other information through mobile devices. AT&T also said it would enhance and expand network coverage along Washington D.C.'s waterways to cover areas that are underserved and provide quick access to deployables.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also accepted the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a public-safety broadband network in the state.

“Whether we're responding to wildfires in eastern Washington or floods in western Washington, our first responders must have a reliable communications network, and this process was about ensuring we get them the best service possible," Inslee said. "Washington's Interoperability Executive Council and representatives on the RFP team provided critical feedback to us during this process. I am grateful for their work, and look forward to continuing ahead with AT&T to ensure our first responders have the best tools available to them in times of crisis."

The states of Washington and Oregon jointly issued an RFP to operate a high-speed, wireless broadband data network dedicated to public safety to compare to the FirstNet and AT&T plans in those states.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also announced the state is opting in to its FirstNet state plan.

“Our state's first responders deserve the best resources we can get for them, and by first working to identify our needs and review all of our options during a competitive process, we were able to confidently conclude FirstNet is the best choice for this service," Brown said. "The work of the State Interoperability Executive Council, our bi-state RFP teams, and our financial and legal review teams have been invaluable to lead us to this conclusion.”

FirstNet will provide coverage in rural and tribal areas within Oregon, along the coast and east of the Cascades. The entity will also make deployable network assets available for natural disasters, an AT&T statement said.

"Governor Brown's decision will deliver a broadband network that will forever change how public-safety communicates and responds to emergencies," said FirstNet Board Vice Chair Jeff Johnson, CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association and former chief for the Tualatin Valley (Oregon) Fire and Rescue. "FirstNet will give first responders the reliability, coverage and innovative technologies they've never had before. This will help keep them safe and help them protect property and save lives across the country, including in rural communities."

To date, the 48 states and territories have opted in to the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network. New Hampshire has opted out. Track the latest opt-in and opt-out announcements here.

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