30 December, 2017
In a statement on December 28, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu indicated that after his state's decision to opt out, talks with other governors around the country who were themselves interested in pursuing independent networks revealed the deadline was approaching "too quickly for these other states to feel confident in an opt-out decision".
The release mentioned "first responder subscribers", but did not specifically say how the network will be paid for.
US territories have until March 12, 2018 to decide whether or not to participate in the FirstNet Radio Access Network, the communications network for America's first responders.
FirstNet was announced earlier in 2017 and is being funded by a government contract with success-based payments of $6.5 billion - raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions. The governor said other states had also expressed concerns about AT&T's plan, but time ran out for them to get comfortable with opting out.
Sununu said he still believes the Rivada plan is the better option for New Hampshire, but determined the risks are too great.
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The governor said opting in now will preserve a pledge from service provider AT&T to build 48 new tower sites across New Hampshire, leading to "a top-quality public safety network for our first responders and enhanced coverage for all of our citizens". American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands are also eligible for inclusion and have until March 12, 2018, to decide if they want to opt out.
"As a result, it now appears likely that no other states will opt out", Sununu said.
FirstNet aims to improve coordination among first responders during emergencies without having to rely exclusively on commercial networks. "Our goal has and will always be to bring each state and territory the best and most sustainable network - a solution designed for public safety, by public safety, delivered by a proven partner".
"Through this entire process, New Hampshire has been able to maintain strategic leverage and ensure that the alternative AT&T proposal was one of the best in the country", Sununu said.
"Thanks to Gov. Bryant's opt-in decision, first responders in MS will now have access to the pioneering communications tools made possible with FirstNet", Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T MS, said in a prepared statement. "We are pleased that the state's vigorous pursuit of the opt-out path left us in a stronger position than any other state in the country".