FirstNet Taps Telecom Giant AT&T for First Responder Network Buildout

After a lengthy and challenged selection process, the FirstNet national public safety broadband network has selected its contractor.

by / March 30, 2017
A firefighter talks over a radio to colleagues. Shutterstock

Just days after being given the green light to select a contractor for the five-year, multi-billion dollar First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) project, officials on March 30 awarded the contract to telecom giant AT&T.

During a special board meeting just two days prior, the FirstNet board voted unanimously to move ahead with selecting a contract awardee. 

Although many in the telecommunications space had speculated that AT&T would win the bid for the nationwide public safety network, legal embroilments had delayed the decision and muddied the waters.

“This unique partnership brings together FirstNet as the voice of public safety and a global technology team with a proven track record and commitment to public safety. Together, FirstNet and AT&T will move with precision and urgency to deliver this much-needed infrastructure to those who need it the most: our first responders,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said in a statement.

Over the course of the next two-and-a-half decades, the communications company will work closely with the agency to implement and maintain a national broadband network for police, fire and EMS personnel. 

According to a FirstNet press release, success-based payments will be made to the company throughout the life of the five-year buildout. The contract is valued at $6.5 billion, and the overall life of the maintenance contract is 25 years.

Prior to the award, the FirstNet procurement process gained national attention when a coalition of companies operating under the name Rivada Mercury filed a lawsuit alleging they had been unfairly dismissed from the selection process.

On March 17, Federal Judge Elaine Kaplan ruled in favor of the project team’s decision, allowing the board to approve the selection of the network contractor.

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said the company was looking forward to building out the project, calling it an “unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure.”