Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced this week that their states have chosen to opt-in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T to deliver a wireless broadband network to the states’ public safety community. Washington and Oregon opened a competitive process earlier this year to ensure the unique needs of the Northwest’s public safety agencies were met.
State officials reviewed the FirstNet State Plans provided by AT&T and the proposals submitted in the bi-state RFP process. A key factor in selecting AT&T was their commitment, as a result of the competitive process, to provide additional tower investments in both states. Washington and Oregon will work with AT&T to identify where the towers should be placed and other strategies for enhancing the resilience of cell service infrastructure in both states.
“Whether we’re responding to wildfires in eastern Washington or floods in western Washington, our first responders must have a reliable communications network and this process was about ensuring we get them the best service possible,” Inslee stated. “Washington’s Interoperability Executive Committee and representatives on the RFP team provided critical feedback to us during this process. I am grateful for their work, and look forward to continuing ahead with AT&T to ensure our first responders have the best tools available to them in times of crisis.”
“Our states’ first responders deserve the best resources we can get for them, and by first working to identify our needs and review all of our options during a competitive process, we were able to confidently conclude FirstNet is the best choice for this service,” Brown said. “The work of the State Interoperability Executive Council, our bi-state RFP teams, and our financial and legal review teams have been invaluable to lead us to this conclusion.”
AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Oregon and Washington’s public safety community at no cost to the states. Inslee and Brown hope this effort will drive innovation that results in the kinds of modernized devices and tools that will ultimately save lives and properties in times of crisis.
Read Washington state’s letter to FirstNet.