New Jersey is the latest state—number six in the queue—to agree to the AT&T-FirstNet plan for rolling out the first responder interoperable communications network funded with FCC spectrum auction proceeds.
“New Jersey is proud to take this important step for first responders in our state," said Governor Chris Christie. "The decision to join this network means FirstNet and AT&T will deliver a highly secure, next-generation solution for our public safety community, building, maintaining and operating it at no cost and no risk to our state."
“I remember hearing from public safety officials during Superstorm Sandy how dangerous it could be when their radios were not interoperable," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. "That's why I want to congratulate everyone in the private and public sectors who came together to support our first responders. But we will all be better off when FirstNet is truly nationwide, so I encourage other states to follow New Jersey's lead and quickly opt in to the network.”
“New Jersey has been at the forefront of public safety broadband, and with Governor Christie’s decision to join FirstNet, the state is once again leading the nation,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth of the additional state partner.
States can come up with their own networks and plans, so long as they are interoperable with the AT&T-FirstNet network. In fact, Verizon was calling on the FCC this week to insure that if other network providers—like, say, Verizon—teamed up with states on their own nets, the FCC would make sure that interoperability "can be achieved through alternative network configurations," saying that "states should have the same flexibility as FirstNet to select partners for deploying and operating such a network."