Alabama will become the 24th state to join the federal FirstNet First Responder Network, a communications network just for first responders, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Tuesday morning.
The goal of FirstNet is to prevent first responders from having their network clogged during vital situations. Ivey said FirstNet comes as a result of the issues on 9/11 when a jammed communication system created major issues during the disaster.
“Reliable, effective communications systems and networks are most important when lives are on the line,” Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor said. “I am very pleased Alabama is opting in to be part of FirstNet. This network and the new tools it will provide will help our first responders do their jobs more safely and effectively, and it will help save lives all across the state.”
According to Taylor, AT&T will build around 30 towers throughout the state, which will help service the program, investing money to make sure the technology does not go obsolete.
“They [AT&T] are the support for FirstNet for 25 years. And they have put over $40 billion into this to be sure that does not happen,” Taylor explained.
The State of Alabama will not have to pay anything for the system, which Ivey said should be up and running by 2022. The funds are from the federal government.
FirstNet will transform the way Alabama’s firefighters, police, emergency medical services (EMS) and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. According to the governor's office, it will:
“Keeping Alabama’s residents, visitors and first responders safe is of the highest concern,” Ivey said. “From volunteer emergency responders in our rural communities to those on the front lines in more populated areas, our public safety community deserves access to the tools they need most. This collaboration with FirstNet and AT&T will allow us to provide our first responders increased capabilities to communicate as effectively and efficiently as possible, while also ensuring that our residents and businesses have the best possible services provided to them in times of emergency.”
(News conference with audio begins at 2:10 mark)
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