Vermont Business Magazine Governor Chris Sununu announced today that New Hampshire will opt out of the FirstNet plan presented by AT&T, and will instead pursue a contract with Rivada Networks, LLC for the provision of an alternative plan for the build out of a high speed wireless broadband network for New Hampshire's first responders. Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced last week that Vermont would opt-in to the FirstNet/AT&T plan. New Hampshire is the first state to opt-out of what is intended to be a nationwide safety plan.
“It is important that Vermont’s first responders have the best service and access to an interoperable network that is expected to advance and adapt with new technology through the next 25 years,” said Governor Scott. “Vermont faced the choice of building its own network or using the federal solution. After thoroughly considering the technological, financial and operational aspects of both options, I believe the federal plan will more quickly and sustainably provide our public safety community with the network it needs to continue its valuable service to Vermont.”
Vermont becomes the 34th state or territory in the nation to accept the federal FirstNet plan and the 8th state to do so after going through a competitive process for alternatives. FirstNet delivered official notices to all state governors on September 29 that final plans for build-out in each state and territory were now in place. The deadline to opt-out is December 28, 2017.
Governor Sununu, like Scott a Republican, made his announcement at New Hampshire State Police Troop F in Twin Mountain, NH, where he was joined by Attorney General and FirstNet Opt-Out Review Committee Chair Gordon MacDonald, Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes, State Interoperability Coordinator John Stevens, and numerous other members of the public safety community.
The Sununu's decision comes after the unanimous opt-out recommendation from the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, and the receipt of a financial and regulatory due diligence report from the FirstNet Opt-Out Review Committee, established by executive order on October 16, 2017. In making the announcement, the Governor issued the following statement:
"New Hampshire's Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee determined from a technical standpoint that an opt-out of FirstNet is far and away our best option, as evidenced by their unanimous 15-0 vote," said Governor Chris Sununu. "After reviewing the report from the FirstNet Opt-Out Review Committee, it is clear that while an opt-out decision comes with regulatory and financial risks, those risks can be mitigated through the safeguards and contractual provisions that the Committee has recommended. I am incredibly grateful to the members of the Opt-Out Review Committee for their assistance in our due diligence evaluation."
"Rivada has proposed a plan that has the potential to provide immense value to our State, including unparalleled public safety infrastructure investments that will lead to unmatched and near universal coverage for the new public safety network. If we successfully navigate the opt-out path, New Hampshire will retain a level of control that it would not have enjoyed in an opt-in scenario. I am pleased that we have the opportunity to pursue a plan that will provide the maximum benefit to our public safety community and all of our citizens. New Hampshire deserves nothing less."
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes also offered their support for the governor's decision.
"As chief law enforcement officer, today's announcement marks an important development for our state and for its first responders," said Attorney General MacDonald. "As we begin the next phase of the process, the Department of Justice is ready to engage immediately with Rivada and FirstNet to ensure that appropriate protections are in place to fully protect New Hampshire's interests."
"Today's announcement is a momentous occasion for public safety in New Hampshire," Commissioner Barthelmes added. "The plan proposed by Rivada will provide unprecedented coverage and assets for our first responders. We at the Department of Safety are excited to work with the Governor, Rivada, and FirstNet as we move forward in this process."
Source: Concord, NH - Office of Governor Christopher Sununu 12.7.2017