AT&T Names New FirstNet Unit President

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AT&T said this week that Jim Bugel will be the new president of the carrier’s FirstNet program—the division that builds and maintains the nationwide public-safety broadband network. Bugel succeeds Jason Porter, who has led AT&T’s FirstNet unit for the past three years and has been the president of AT&T’s public-sector business since early 2021.

The leadership change becomes effective Sunday, reports Urgent Communications. Bugel will report to Zee Hussain, AT&T’s new public-sector president. Porter has been reassigned to work in AT&T’s supply-chain division, according to a company spokesperson.   

Bugel has been vice president of the FirstNet team since AT&T won the FirstNet contract in 2017. He supported the 2012 legislation that created the FirstNet Authority. Bugel stated the position “is more than a job. It’s a calling.”

AT&T named Bugel to head the company’s FirstNet unit at an interesting time in the program, according to Urgent Communications. AT&T is contracted to finish its initial five-year buildout of the broadband network by the end of March 2023, so future system enhancements will depend largely on the FirstNet Authority’s reinvestment efforts. The FirstNet Authority is conducting a search for a new CEO after the resignation of Ed Parkinson in the spring, Inside Towers reported.

In addition, the FCC is considering the renewal of the FirstNet Authority’s license to the 700 MHz Band14. A decision is expected before next month’s 10-year anniversary of the license being granted in 2012.

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