INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb has decided that Indiana will participate in the creation of a federally funded, interoperable public safety broadband network.
AT&T is building the First Responder Network Authority, known as FirstNet, as part of a nationwide effort to provide police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel with a modern, high-speed wireless communications infrastructure on a dedicated segment of the radio spectrum.
In 2012, the federal government appropriated $7 billion for the project. It was conceived in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks when police and firefighters struggled to communicate at ground zero using their separate radio systems.
Every state and U.S. territory was given the choice to opt in to the network and have AT&T build it at no cost to them, or to build their own Radio Access Network that connects directly to FirstNet.
So far, Indiana and 24 other states, along with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have opted in. No state has yet decided to opt out.
"Indiana's first responders need fast, accurate information to keep Hoosiers safe," Holcomb said. "This new communications network will help those on the front lines coordinate better and faster to serve and protect our citizens and communities."
The governor also noted the Indiana Integrated Public Safety Commission and local leaders have been working with FirstNet for the past five years to ensure the system will work effectively in Indiana's urban, suburban, small town and rural areas.
Operational, public safety agencies and other first responders will pay a subscription fee to access the infrastructure. State officials said participation will be optional.