Iowa Opts in to FirstNet
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 | Comments

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg announced the state’s participation in the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) at a weekly press conference. Iowa is the fifth state to opt in to network after Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas and Kentucky.

Reynolds highlighted the improved information sharing and interoperability capabilities that FirstNet will provide first responders in the state as key reasons behind the opt-in decision.

In 2013, the state created the FirstNet Broadband Subcommittee to explore and vet the FirstNet network. Because of that committee’s thorough analysis, the Iowa Statewide Communications System Board unanimously endorsed the state plan provided by FirstNet and partner AT&T, Reynolds said.

“The FirstNet network will not only strengthen and modernize public-safety communications in our state but also bring much needed investment to our communications infrastructure,” Reynolds said. “The network builds on AT&T’s existing footprint to expand coverage and capacity. AT&T has invested nearly $150 million in its Iowa network infrastructure over the past three years.

“By partnering with FirstNet, we will be able to expand coverage for first responders. As a result, this will also help expand coverage for rural Iowans, providing access to a reliable, high-speed wireless connection in areas with little or no connectivity today.” In a statement, Iowa said the state will incur no risk, responsibility or cost for the FirstNet network. FirstNet and AT&T will deploy, operate, maintain and improve the FirstNet network in Iowa and assume all responsibility for capital expenditures, operating costs and other costs such as staffing, training, integration, environmental compliance and program management.

"Iowa is a longtime leader in public-safety communications technology, from using public school Wi-Fi to connect emergency personnel on school grounds to today's decision to become part of the FirstNet network," said FirstNet President TJ Kennedy. "With Gov. Reynolds’ decision, Iowa is putting cutting-edge, lifesaving technology in public safety's hands. FirstNet looks forward to continuing to work with Iowa to build the network and equip the state's first responders with the technology they need to save lives and keep Iowa's communities safe."

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