Gov. Doug Burgum today announced that North Dakota will participate in the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) with AT&T to establish a wireless communications network that will help first responders better serve and protect the public in times of need.
Burgum signed a letter Thursday notifying FirstNet that North Dakota has decided to opt in to the rollout of the nationwide interoperable broadband network, as proposed in the FirstNet State Plan. The decision to opt in was also a recommendation by North Dakota’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC).
“First responders need access to the latest communications technologies to do their jobs most effectively, and events like the Dakota Access Pipeline protests demonstrated the important need for a common system to enable communication between and among first responders,” Burgum said. “We’re pleased to join FirstNet as another step toward improving our connectivity to help enhance the safety of our first responders and all of our citizens.”
“Governor Burgum’s decision will enhance public safety communications throughout the state’s rural and remote areas, including federal and tribal lands," said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. "FirstNet is pleased to have delivered a dynamic and modernized network solution that meets North Dakota’s unique needs, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the Peace Garden State.”
“FirstNet not only improves interoperability communications with public safety responders in North Dakota, but also enhances interoperability among first responders nationally,” said Mike Lynk, Director, State Radio.
“FirstNet provides another valuable tool for the North Dakota Highway Patrol in order for us to effectively communicate among first responders as we work together to keep the citizens of our state safe and secure,” NDHP Major Brandon Solberg.
FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, established by Congress in 2012 to build, operate and maintain a nationwide, high-speed wireless broadband network for first responders and other public safety personnel leveraging AT&T’s existing LTE (4G) network as a foundation. Each state was allowed to opt in and participate in the nationwide plan or opt out and develop it on their own with a partner.
Earlier this year, Burgum signed legislation authorizing the creation of a statewide interoperable radio network (SIRN) to improve communications capabilities for law enforcement, ambulance services and other first responders in North Dakota.