FirstNet faces its first potential opt-out

With another opt-in comes a potential opt-out.

FirstNet and its partner AT&T have successfully reached out to states about their plans for a public safety broadband network and have only received opt-ins from states or territories thus far. FirstNet released State Plans that detailed how the partners would go about constructing and operating a first responder network in each state or territory respectively. 

The latest state to accept FirstNet’s offer is Indiana, and on Oct. 11, Indiana’s governor, Eric J. Holcomb, officially opted-in to FirstNet’s plan. Indiana will receive the latest technology and wireless service for their first responders in times of crisis, according to FirstNet. Indiana is the 27th state or territory to opt-in to FirstNet’s first responder network.

“This new communications network will help those on the front lines coordinate better and faster to serve and protect our citizens and communities,” said Holcomb in a press release.

Unlike Indiana and the other 27 states or territories, New Hampshire is not sold on FirstNet and AT&T’s plan, making it the first state to publicly question these plans and lean towards opting out. On Monday, Oct. 16, Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order effectively creating an opt-out review committee.

“New Hampshire’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) has determined from a technical standpoint that an opt-out of FirstNet is far and away our best option, as evidenced by their unanimous 15-0 vote,” said Sununu in a press release.

The goal of this committee is to examine proposed fees and to get clarification on any penalties that the state may face as a result of opting-out or trying to opt-out of FirstNet. New Hampshire’s SIEC reviewed the plan offered by FirstNet and advised the Governor in September that an opt-out plan would be best.

New Hampshire already has a deal with Rivada Networks, LLC. This likely contributed to states leaning toward opting-out of FirstNet, since they already have a company working with them that can contribute a first responder network. Another goal the committee has is to make sure that Rivada will successfully fulfill its opt-out plan for New Hampshire and can provide the most up-to-date technology for its first responders.

According to the executive order, “the state of New Hampshire has entered into a no-cost contact with Rivada Networks, LLC (Rivada) in August 2016 which gives Rivada the exclusive right to negotiate a contract for the deployment, provision and implementation of an opt-out plan for the state of New Hampshire if the state of New Hampshire decides to opt-out of the FirstNet plan.”

The terms of an opt-out means that FirstNet and AT&T will have nothing to do with a first responder network in New Hampshire–but the state will be required to build and support one on its own.

There are other competitions, like Verizon, also offering a public safety network for first responders. This means that although FirstNet and AT&T have the majority of interest at the moment, with the announcement of their State Plans and the time limit on each state or territory governors to get back to them, they are not the only resource available. There are other avenues for states to turn to, and it looks like New Hampshire will be the first state to do so.

Connected Real Estate Weekly will keep you updated on the status of New Hampshire’s decision on FirstNet, and will continue to report on the latest FirstNet news.

To read more on FirstNet and AT&T click here

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