FirstNet and AT&T have begun the build-out of the network as all 50 states, two U.S. territories and Washington D.C. have opted-in to the federal plan. 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 had decided to opt-out of the FirstNet/AT&T proposed plan, that state was required to 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 had to meet stringent requirements in order to receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and FirstNet. The NTIA would administer the opt-out progression by facilitating states to enter into a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet and access grant funds that would have covered some of the costs for the construction of a Radio Access Network (RAN) in a given state. Alternative plans had to address eight measurements.
The deadline for governors to communicate an opt-in/opt-out decision to FirstNet was December 28, 2017.
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.