AT&T wins $6.5B contract to build first responder network

AT&T wins $6.5B contract to build first responder network
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The Department of Commerce on Thursday awarded AT&T a $6.5 billion contract to build a nationwide broadband service for first responders.

The program, called FirstNet, was first proposed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to make it easier and more efficient for first responders to communicate, but it has struggled to get off the ground.

“Today is a landmark day for public safety across the Nation and shows the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. 

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“FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure. This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector.”

AT&T is planning to spend $40 billion to build and maintain the network over 25 years.

“We are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America’s police, firefighters and [emergency medical services] that is second to none,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said. “This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority.”

AT&T will get 20 megahertz spectrum to deploy for the network.