Arkansas, Kentucky Opt in to FirstNet
Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Comments

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that Arkansas will opt in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public-safety community. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also made the decision to opt in. Both states made the announcements at the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Summer Conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

Arkansas and Kentucky join Virginia and Wyoming as the first states to officially declare their intention to participate in the program.

“After an in-depth review of the FirstNet and AT&T plan by the appropriate state agencies and stakeholders, I have decided to approve their recommendation to opt in to the program,” Hutchinson said. “As a former undersecretary of homeland security after 9/11, I understand the necessity of a reliable stand-alone emergency communications system. FirstNet has received wide support among our community of first responders because it will enable us to respond more quickly during crises when seconds can mean the difference between life and death.”

FirstNet and AT&T will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Arkansas’ and Kentucky’s public-safety community for the next 25 years. The states’ public-safety users will pay to subscribe to the services.

“Arkansas has been a tremendous partner to work with to plan and design this network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “With today’s decision, Gov. Hutchinson realizes public safety’s efforts and sets this life-saving network into motion. We look forward to delivering the technology and communications tools that first responders need to serve and protect the residents of Arkansas.”

Since 2013, FirstNet has met with Arkansas officials and public-safety personnel more than 30 times to address their communications needs and challenges, a statement said. In addition, before the governor received the FirstNet state plan for his approval, the plan was reviewed for potential financial, legal and environmental implications by a group of stakeholders and state agencies including the Governor’s office, the Department of Information Systems, the Attorney General, the Department of Emergency Management and the Arkansas Interoperable Communications Executive Committee.

The Arkansas governor’s letter is here.

Some states have concerns with the terms of use and information included in their state plans and continue to evaluate the information.

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