It's unanimous: California makes FirstNet 'opt-in' decision but expresses reservations

Gov. Rick Scott made the decision on Thursday, according to the First Responder Network Authority, joining its plan to build a nationwide wireless network. As a result, AT&T will build and maintain the FirstNet LTE network and gain access to the 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum licensed to FirstNet in all of these states and territories, which includes the entire continental United States.

Click link here to download Governor Brown's letter and Director Ghilarducci's accompanying letter dated December 28, 2017. USA territories also are taking part in FirstNet.

But Sununu came under intense pressure from business groups, first responders and communications workers unions, all of whom questioned the wisdom of taking a chance on Rivada.

FirstNet aims to improve coordination among first responders during emergencies without having to rely exclusively on commercial networks. Earlier this year, Washington and OR announced a competitive submission process meant to make sure that the unique requirements for public safety in the Pacific Northwest are met. Both Washington and OR will now work with the communication company in order to determine where the new towers should be located.

"California is hopeful that AT&T and FirstNet will meaningfully partner with Cal OES and will continue to engage with state officials during the buildout of the public-safety network in California to address the needs of our emergency responders".

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"Having that regional approach to these crises is what's going to save lives", Sawyer said in an interview. "In a disaster event they can be deployed within hours where existing towers may have failed".

Sununu said New Hampshire led the country during the FirstNet evaluation process, and concluded that the Rivada plan would provide better coverage, more control by the state and an opportunity to make money on the expanded broadband spectrum.

Other states that issued their own RFPs included Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi and Rhode Island.

Colorado issued a conditional award in November to a team that included US -based Rivada and the Australian financial services provider Macquarie Group - a pact subsequently invalidated when it became the 40th state to join FirstNet.

"Essentially they're adding capacity where there was no capacity", Tade said.

  • Ronnie Bowen