Pennsylvania, South Carolina Governors Opt In to FirstNet
Thursday, November 02, 2017 | Comments

Two additional states opted in to their respective First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) state plans Thursday.

Pennsylvania opted in to the deployment of the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN), a day after the state’s representative on the House subcommittee on communications and technology discussed the risks of opting out during a hearing on FirstNet oversight.

Rep. Mike Doyle from Pennsylvania asked witnesses about the risks of opting out of FirstNet at the Nov. 1 hearing. In response, FirstNet CEO Mike Poth called the NPSBN “a very complicated network with a lot of moving parts.” He said FirstNet will work with states that opt out and if the state fails to uphold its opt-out duties, FirstNet “will instantly work with that state to minimize impacts and move us forward.” Poth noted AT&T isn’t obligated to cover the costs of building a radio access network (RAN) in an opt-out state.

Pennsylvania released an RFP for an alternative plan earlier this year and held a state legislative hearing on FirstNet Oct. 19.

“When an emergency strikes, Pennsylvania first responders are called upon to handle the situation and support the community,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “As we have learned from recent events in many parts of the country, a vital component needed for coordinating a response is the ability for all responders on the scene to share information as events unfold.”

Prior to deciding to deploy FirstNet, Pennsylvania sought input from stakeholder groups in a multistep process to provide input to and feedback on Pennsylvania’s FirstNet state plan, helping to create a final state plan with AT&T, a statement said.

South Carolina also opted in to FirstNet’s and AT&T state plan.

“When an emergency happens, South Carolina’s first responders are there, putting their lives on the line to serve and save others,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Our public-safety personnel need and deserve resources that will help keep them safe and allow them to deliver the best possible services for our communities, and that’s why I’m proud to work with FirstNet and AT&T to bring this innovative technology to our state.”

Since 2014, FirstNet has met with South Carolina’s state and public-safety officials more than 20 times to address their unique communications needs. The plan will bring the state's first responders coverage where emergencies happen, including along South Carolina’s coastline, and other network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support when needed.

Find a full list of opt-in states here.

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