Governors Under the Gun with FirstNet “Opt-In/Opt-Out” Deadline


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Governors have until December 28, to “opt-in/opt-out” of FirstNet, according to AT&T CEO John Stephens, who represents FirstNet’s nationwide contractor. Urgent Communications reported that governors in “many” states and territories will not decide by the deadline, effectively making an “opt-in” choice by taking no action. To date, governors in 31 states and two territories have announced “opt-in” decisions (see other story higher up.)

“They’ve got to decide by December 28, but many of them are just going to let the time expire and automatically opt-in,” Stephens said earlier this month. “The leadership in many of the state governments … and territorial governments have more important things to do.” 

“Think of the people in Houston, the people in Florida or the people in Puerto Rico. We’ve had a lot of natural disasters in the United States, and those governments are focusing on what they should focus on—taking care of the people and restoring good quality of life—so they may not react to the FirstNet opt-in process.”

In the 2012 law creating FirstNet, governors are responsible for making the “opt-in/opt-out” decision for each state and territory. Regarding the possible inaction route for the remaining 19 governors, political analysts see it as a deliberate move.  Those who do not want to support federal-government intervention in their state, analysts say, may also want to avoid exposing the state to potential legal and financial issues associated with the “opt-out” alternative.

November 30, 2017               

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