Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a letter accepting the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the Commonwealth’s public safety community. This will make Virginia the first state in the country to “opt-in” to FirstNet and bring advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.
FirstNet and AT&T will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Virginia’s public safety community at no cost to the state for the next 25 years. The FirstNet network will deliver innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.
This is one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions Governor McAuliffe will make for the Commonwealth’s first responders and the residents they serve. The network will transform the way Virginia’s fire, police, EMS, emergency management and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:
- Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies like the recent shooting in Alexandria or the 2014 Air National Guard F-15C fighter jet crash in Augusta County, and supporting large events, such as the Richmond Jazz Festival.
- Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state during natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew, the Derecho storm of June 2012 or the 2011 earthquake with its epicenter in Louisa County.
- Enhance network coverage in rural areas. This will benefit first responders and residents in areas such as Southwest Virginia, Southside Virginia, the Eastern Shore and more.
- Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.
- Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies. It also carries the potential for future integration with NextGen 9-1-1 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.
The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications.
Specifically, Virginia’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network. Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365, like their mission.