RESTON, Va., Aug. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Kansas is transforming public safety communications by opting in to FirstNet. Today, Governor Sam Brownback announced his decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T* plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state's public safety community. This will make Kansas the 14th state or territory to bring advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.
"This initiative positions Kansas to provide state-of-the-art emergency communication services to the benefit of our residents, businesses and visitors," said Gov. Brownback. "Our first responders need to quickly and securely coordinate efforts during an emergency, and FirstNet will help ensure that they have the tools they need to safeguard our state. This effort will also bring welcome broadband service enhancements to many rural parts of our state, including tribal lands and those areas most recently affected by wildfires this spring."
AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Kansas' public safety community at no cost to the state. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.
"Governor Brownback's decision to opt-in to FirstNet is great for Kansas and will help ensure that our state's first responders continue to stay on the cutting-edge of public safety," said Dick Heitschmidt, chairman of the Kansas 9-1-1 Coordinating Council and Hutchinson chief of police.
This is one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions Governor Brownback could have made for the state's first responders and the residents they serve. The FirstNet network will transform the way Kansas' fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:
- Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies, and supporting large events like the Kansas State Fair.
- Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state. Being in the heart of Tornado Alley, this is key when responding to natural disasters.
- Enhance network coverage across the state, including rural areas and tribal lands, the eastern River Valley, through the Great Central Plains and more. This will benefit first responders and residents, alike.
- Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.
- Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies. It also carries the potential for future integration with Smart Cities' infrastructure.
"Keeping Kansans safe and supporting our public safety community is a top priority," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Kansas Adjutant General. "By selecting the FirstNet and AT&T plan for Kansas, our emergency responders will have access to innovative new technologies supported by a first-rate network that is dedicated to public safety – helping them protect communities and save lives."
FirstNet and AT&T designed Kansas' network solution with direct input from the state's public safety community. FirstNet has been meeting with Kansas officials and public safety personnel for several years to address their unique communication needs. This includes:
- Creating an interoperable communications experience with Kansas' 4 border states.
- Integrating state infrastructure into the network build as appropriate.
"Today is a great day for the more than 1,400 public safety entities in Kansas. By opting in to FirstNet, Kansas' first responders will have access to communications tools and resources they need," said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. "FirstNet will not only offer innovative technology to public safety subscribers, but interoperability across state and jurisdictional boundaries – an important issue for many Kansas communities."
The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. Kansas' first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.
Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365, like their mission.
"It's an honor to continue our nearly 140-year history of supporting Kansas and its public safety community," said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet. "By opting in to FirstNet, Governor Brownback is giving his first responders the tools and technologies they need to operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line."
"FirstNet is a game-changer for Kansas' public safety community," Mike Scott, president, AT&T Kansas, added. "With AT&T ESInet™ Service and Kansas' NextGen 9-1-1 network, Kansas will have the 'triple crown' of public safety communications systems all in one state."
Earlier this year, Kansas selected AT&T to upgrade the state's 9-1-1 infrastructure with AT&T ESInet™ Service. The solution will help Kansas create a more reliable and improved experience for those calling 9-1-1.
With AT&T ESInet™ Service and FirstNet, Kansas' public safety community will be able to enjoy an enhanced emergency response, creating an efficient flow of communications, from:
- The person calling or texting 9-1-1 for help,
- To the public safety answering point dispatching the call to a first responder,
- To the first responders answering in the car to their response on the scene.
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Chartered in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. Learn more at FirstNet.gov/mediakit and follow FirstNet (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
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**Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q4 2016 + Q1 2017 across 121 markets.
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SOURCE AT&T Inc.