FirstNet’s first no: New Hampshire pursues opt-out plan with Rivada Networks

On Thursday, Dec. 7, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced through a press release that New Hampshire opted-out of FirstNet’s plan with AT&T. In mid-October, after an executive order was released and announced the creation of a Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, the committee decided to opt-out of FirstNet “unanimously” with a 15-0 vote, according to a news release. New Hampshire will rely on Rivada Networks to provide a public safety broadband network for its first responders.

As outlined in the executive order, New Hampshire has worked with Rivada Networks in the past and will continue to use the network provider to build a public safety communications network tailored towards its first responders.

“Rivada has proposed a plan that has the potential to provide immense value to our State, including unparalleled public safety infrastructure investments that will lead to unmatched and near universal coverage for the new public safety network,” said Gov. Sununu in a statement. “If we successfully navigate the opt-out path, New Hampshire will retain a level of control that it would not have enjoyed in an opt-in scenario.”

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes support Gov. Sununu’s decision. In the press release, Attorney General MacDonald said, “As we begin the next phase of the process, the Department of Justice is ready to engage immediately with Rivada and FirstNet to ensure that appropriate protections are in place to fully protect New Hampshire’s interests.”

This opt-out is the first one for FirstNet. The Dec. 28 deadline looms closer and states will have decide whether or not they want to allow FirstNet to come in and revamp their public safety communications for first responder use. If a state ultimately wants to opt-out, they need to do so prior to the deadline. Any state that has not given FirstNet an answer by Dec. 28 will automatically be considered an opt-in, according to FirstNet.

The most recent state to opt-in to FirstNet is Missouri, as of Monday, Dec. 11. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens decided to accept FirstNet and its partner AT&T’s offer to build a public safety communications network tailored towards Missouri’s specific needs. There are 36 states or territories that have agreed to opt-in to FirstNet out of 56, and New Hampshire is the only state to have opted-out thus far.

“Governor Greitens’ decision to opt-in to FirstNet is the right choice for our state and for our first responders,” said Missouri Director of Public Safety Charles “Drew” Juden III in a FirstNet press release.

FirstNet, or the First Responder Authority Network, was created by The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It was established as an independent authority that’s purpose is to give first responders a nationwide public safety broadband network. As a result of this legislation, Rivada Networks will need to build and maintain a public safety networks that meets FirstNet’s standards.

Connected Real Estate Weekly will keep you informed about FirstNet opt-ins and opt-outs, and the status of other public safety communications networks competing with FirstNet’s plan with AT&T.

 

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