Gov. Rick Scott approves buildout of first responder broadband network in Florida

Published: December 29th, 2017 | First Coast News

Florida joined the rest of the country this week in opting into a cost-free plan that aims to reform the way first responders communicate with each other while in the line of duty.

Gov. Rick Scott gave hissignature of approvalfor the FirstNet Radio Access Network (RAN) buildout plan on Thursday, the final day of the statutory 90-day decision period. The plan calls for the development of a “highly secure” wireless broadband communications network for Florida's public safety community at no cost to the state.

“...Florida has decided to participate in the deployment of the nationwide, interoperable broadband network as proposed in the FirstNet State Plan, as amended,” Scott said in a letter Thursday. “I believe this is in the best interest for Florida taxpayers.”

The FirstNet buildout plan involves AT&T, in partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, to create an “entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.” AT&T will be responsible for deploying, maintaining and operating Florida's system for the next 25 years.

The plan has been touted as an opportunity to create jobs, modernize public safety communications and drive network infrastructure investments, especially in rural areas that are currently underserved.

Established via theMiddle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the First Responder Network Authority says it has worked closely with officials and public safety personnel in each state and territory for the past five years to address unique communication needs. A customized, digital plan was sent out to each governor for approval.

Read More