Guam First Pacific Territory to Opt In to FirstNet
Friday, January 05, 2018 | Comments

Guam became the first of the United States’ Pacific territories to opt in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Governor Eddie Baza Calvo announced his decision to opt in Jan. 4.

All 50 states, two territories and the District of Columbia opted into FirstNet by the Dec. 28 deadline to opt out of the nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Because their state plans were delivered later than the rest of the states and territories, the Pacific territories — Guam, the North Mariana Islands and American Samoa — have until March 12 to make a decision on FirstNet.

“Communication is critical when a typhoon or other disaster strikes our island,” Calvo said. “FirstNet is another step toward improving our connectivity amongst first responders, which enhances their safety as well as their ability to safeguard and respond to emergencies in our island community.”

FirstNet will transform the way Guam’s fire, police, emergency medical services (EMS), emergency management and other public-safety personnel communicate and share information.

“With our participation in this nationwide program we’ll take a step to addressing our communications needs for first responders,” Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio said. “Our geography here on Guam expands well beyond the popular hiking grounds in the hills and valleys of the south, it continues into miles of ocean surrounding our island.”

AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will provide a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Guam's public-safety community at no cost to the territory. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.

FirstNet will transform the way Guam's fire, police, EMS and other public-safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, it will:
• Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies and supporting events such as Guam Liberation Day and the Guam Micronesia Island Fair
• Create an efficient communications experience for public-safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the territory during natural disasters, such as earthquakes, typhoons and flooding
• Enhance and expand network coverage across Guam's diverse landscape, benefitting first responders and residents throughout the territory's rural or remote areas
• Provide first responders with access to dedicated network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support when needed
• Drive infrastructure investments across the territory
• Usher in a new wave of dependable innovations for first responders. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies

“I want to thank Governor Calvo for his decision to accept the FirstNet plan,” Calvo’s Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros said. “This system provides much needed capability and capacity to our First Responder agencies in their requirements to serve and protect our communities. We thank all who worked hard and diligently to get us to this point.”

FirstNet and AT&T worked with Guam to design a network solution with direct input from Guam and its public-safety community. From an initial consultation meeting in October 2015 to continuous discussion with public-safety stakeholders, the FirstNet plan helped address the unique communication needs of our island, including:
• Stationing dedicated network assets that can be deployed for expedited response and recovery efforts as needed on the island
• Improving coverage along critical coastal areas
• Providing increased resiliency so first responders can be confident that the network will be there when they need it
• Leveraging feature-rich services at competitive prices

FirstNet developed a multilevel, multiyear consultation program in partnership with Guam’s single point of contact (SPOC), currently Guam Chief Technology Officer Frank Lujan Jr, which included stakeholders from the Department of Homeland Security and local officials.

"Governor Calvo's decision delivers a modernized public safety network that will improve emergency communications in Guam," said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. "With FirstNet, Guam's first responders will now have access to the most advanced technologies over a reliable, high speed connection to help the island's first responders save lives and protect communities."

The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to offer an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. Guam's first responder subscribers will have access to quality of service, priority and preemption to voice and data across the FirstNet network.

"Governor Calvo has been a great partner as we've developed the plan for bringing the FirstNet network to Guam's public-safety community," said Stephanie Tyler, president, AT&T Pacific Northwest. "We're honored to have the opportunity to provide the island's first responders with access to the life-saving tools FirstNet makes possible."

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