Wisconsin, South Dakota Announce FirstNet Opt-In Plans
Friday, December 15, 2017 | Comments

Wisconsin and South Dakota announced plans to accept their state plans from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and its partner AT&T.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced his decision to accept the AT&T plan for public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the state.

"Clear and reliable communication is essential for first responders to do their jobs effectively," said Walker. "This new partnership provides crucial, secure and robust broadband access to our first responders and public-safety personnel to help them save lives when every second counts. I look forward to FirstNet and AT&T implementing their plan and its widespread positive effect in protecting Wisconsin's communities."

AT&T said it will enhance and expand network coverage along Wisconsin's lakes and waterways to cover underserved areas and provide access to dedicated network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support when needed.

Separately, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard gave approval for the establishment of a public-safety broadband network built, operated and maintained by FirstNet using AT&T’s existing infrastructure as a foundation.

“We deal with our fair share of severe weather and natural disasters in South Dakota,” Daugaard said. “Our first responders need to have access to communications technologies that work whenever and wherever needed. FirstNet will create a single, interoperable system across our state to aid first responders in protecting citizens.”

AT&T said the network will support emergencies and large events such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world that attracts more than 450,000 people annually. The carrier said it invested more than $90 million in its South Dakota wireless and wired networks from 2014 –2016.

Local entities will be able to choose whether or not to subscribe to the services. AT&T has yet to announce specific rates for those wanting to participate but said it will establish a highly competitive pricing structure for public-safety entities, a statement from the governor’s office said.

Find the status of each state's FirstNet decision with our FirstNet resource.

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