Most States Will Join FirstNet, AT&T’s Donovan Says

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AT&T is working with FirstNet on developing state plans and aims to be ready to share those with governors for their evaluation on or around June 19. “We expect most, if not all, states will join” the effort to deploy a nationwide first responder communications network, says AT&T Chief Strategy Officer and Group President of Technology and Operations John Donovan.

He told attendees of the Cowen and Company 45th Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference the carrier began planning for the project early in the year, so when the contract was awarded they’d be ready to move. AT&T believes it will be able to give states the opportunity to be on the carrier’s commercial network by the end of this year, rather than waiting until sometime in 2018. They’d have “preemption,” he explained, “so when all hell is breaking loose and states need to get on the network they can.”

FirstNet gives AT&T the ability to deploy all of its spectrum gained in different auctions all at once in every market. Though the carrier has five years for buildout, Donovan says it will move as fast as it can. FirstNet has “unlocked an opportunity for us to get an economical way to deploy spectrum,” making AT&T’s network “more comprehensive, faster and reliable.”

June 1, 2017

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