FirstNet and AT&T have begun the build-out of the network as states make their opt-in or opt-out decision. AT&T was selected as FirstNet’s commercial partner following a 15-month national RFP process. Verizon chose not to compete for the contract. FirstNet provided each state and territory with a final unique build-out plan in late September. In Vermont, the Public Safety Broadband Network Commission examined and evaluated both a draft and final plan for the State of Vermont. At their November 20 meeting, the commission voted to recommend to the Governor that he should opt-in to the federal FirstNet plan for Vermont. On November 29, Governor Scott announced his decision to accept the federal FirstNet plan. Once a state opts-in, FirstNet and AT&T begin immediate work to give the public safety community access to the network and assume the responsibility of building, maintaining and operating the network over a 25 year period.
If a state decides to opt-out of the FirstNet/AT&T proposed plan, that state must demonstrate that it can build and maintain a system comparable to that offered by FirstNet. Since the intent of the federal program is to create a reliable nationwide interoperable network, an opt-out state must meet stringent requirements in order to receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and FirstNet. The NTIA will play a key role in administering the opt-out progression by managing the process for states to enter into a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet and access grant funds that will cover some of the costs for the construction of a Radio Access Network (RAN) in a given state. Alternative plans must address eight measurements.
The deadline for governors to communicate an opt-in/opt-out decision to FirstNet is December 28, 2017. No response will automatically trigger an opt-in for the network.
The FirstNet project is housed within the Radio Technology Services unit of the Department of Public Safety. Please contact the DPS FirstNet project team at (802) 241-5535 or via email at DPS.PSBC@vermont.gov.