Verizon to take on AT&T in fight for first responders

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 16, 2017

Verizon, the nation's largest carrier by subscribers, says it controls about two-thirds of the market for police, fire and other first responders, and in its announcement signaled that it plans to hold on to them.

Gov. Sam Brownback announced the decision Tuesday in Topeka, accepting a proposal AT&T presented along with proposals to each state in June.

First responders will gain access to the network by signing up as paying customers.

Verizon Communications Inc. said it is building dedicated lanes at the core of its US wireless network for firefighters and other first responders, a bid to compete with AT&T Inc.'s plans for its own public-safety network.

FirstNet emerged as a solution to communications problems during large emergencies such as the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, tornadoes and other events.

"In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, as first responders heroically charged into the fallen buildings and rubble, they could not all communicate with one another", Brownback said during a Statehouse news conference.

"FirstNet was created to ensure that our first responders never again face that kind of technology gap", Brownback said. A similar feature called "preemption" will be available later this year. AT&T partnered with FirstNet and will build, operate and maintain the highly secure communications network, at no cost to the state.

According to the Wall Street Journal, at least a dozen states and territories have already agreed to let AT&T build networks. Rivada's executive team includes former Sprint finance chief Joe Euteneuer as its co-CEO.

Verizon (VZ -0.6%) is looking to take on AT&T (T -0.9%) and its $6.5B FirstNet network for first responders, building its own dedicated portions of its wireless network to devote to public safety.

The emergence of FirstNet in Kansas under AT&T's plan is expected to improve broadband coverage and service in rural areas and on tribal lands.

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