The US government has finally confirmed that the telecom company, AT&T® will be operating and building FirstNet, which is a nationwide LTE emergency service network for the country. Apart from AT&T®, their vendors including Inmarsat Government, Sapient Consulting, General Dynamics, and Motorola Solutions, will receive $46.5 billion funding for the proposed 25-year contract.
The proposed LTE emergency service network will be covering all the 50 states in the country. In addition to that, it will also cover the District of Columbia and many other US territories.
The proposed network will allow paramedics, police officers, first responders, and firefighters to communicate with one another more efficiently. The need for such an emergency network was first identified after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York back in the year 2001. However, the shocking fact is that it took approximately 16 years for the government to appoint a contractor and define the criteria for the network.
During the official signing of the contract, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said, “When terrorism struck our shores the flaws in national security were exposed. We wanted to ensure such lapses did not occur again.” He added that FirstNet would be “a dedicated public sector broadband network that equips first responders with the technology.”
One of the leading internet providers in the country, AT&T® also added that they had earlier made a bid for the contract in early 2016. The two other well-known bidders were Rivada Mercury and pdvWireless. The former was excluded from the contract in March 2017 while the latter was excluded from the process by the end of 2016.
At the signing ceremony, the CEO of AT&T®, Randall Stephenson stated that the FirstNet team has already “ran a detailed and transparent bidding process,” and added that, “All of us at AT&T®, we really are honored” to be awarded with “this unprecedented public-private partnership.”
The best internet service provider refused to share any details on whether they will be exclusively using the spectrum for the FirstNet network. However, they did share a few details on the partial breakdown of the costs.
As per the officials from AT&T®, “FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum, and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network build-out. FirstNet’s funding was raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions.”