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AT&T Has FirstNet Public Safety Deal in the Bag – Sources

Dan Jones
2/28/2017

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2017 -- AT&T looks set to win the $7 billion contract to build the long-awaited FirstNet nationwide LTE network for first responders in the US.

"It's a done deal, but you didn't hear from me," one source on the show floor in Spain told Light Reading. Another says the win could be announced this March, or sometime later in the second quarter.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) were always the main contenders to build the 700MHz D-Block LTE network. It is supposed to provide police, fire and emergency services with interoperable radios that allow them to all communicate. (See 9/11: The Radio Issue.)

A national first-responders network in 700MHz was suggested in 2006. The 9/11 terrorist attacks highlighted how the police and firefighter radios were incompatible, making a catastrophic situation even more dangerous and difficult for emergency response teams.

Congress earmarked $7 billion for the network. It has been slow progress since then, leading some to describe the whole situation as a "boondoggle." (See FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?)

"FirstNet remains in an ongoing procurement process and no award has been made," A FirstNet spokesperson tells us.

The contract, however, is likely to be announced in the second quarter, Light Reading has been told.

Much like the Affordable Care Act, however, individual states will be able to opt-out of the program if they wish to. Our sources say that some states will do just that.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DanJones
DanJones
3/30/2017 | 10:25:23 AM
It's official!
Just posted: AT&T Selected by FirstNet to Build and Manage America’s First Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network Dedicated to First Responders Public-Private Infrastructure Investment Helps Police, Firefighters & Other First Responders Keep America Safe FirstNet Investments Expected to Create 10,000 Jobs DALLAS, March 30, 2017 – AT&T* has been selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS). The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands in those states and territories. This is a much needed investment in America’s communications infrastructure to support millions of first responders and public safety personnel nationwide who protect and serve more than 320 million people across the U.S. This significant public-private infrastructure investment is expected to create 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years from AT&T’s work for FirstNet. The network buildout will begin later this year. Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said, “We are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America’s police, firefighters and EMS that is second to none. This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority.” “Today is a landmark day for public safety across the Nation and shows the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure. This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector.”
KBode
KBode
2/28/2017 | 10:48:17 AM
...
Yeah I think that $7 billion estimate is a far, far cry from what this project will actually cost. After all of those delays involving allegations that large carriers were having an undue influence on the direction off the project and overall bidding process.
DanJones
DanJones
2/28/2017 | 9:38:32 AM
Too litte? Too Late?
$7B doesn't seem like much to deploy a nationwide network?
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