AT&T, Inc. (NYSE: T) the nation's second-largest cellphone carrier, was awarded a contract to build a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders. In the next five years, FirstNet, which is an independent arm of the Department of Commerce, will provide AT&T with telecom spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion.
“FirstNet will provide 20MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network buildout,” AT&T said in the announcement.
FirstNet was founded in 2012, which was authorized by the federal government and operated as an independent authority within the US Department of Commerce.
The contract with FirstNet is 25 years, and AT&T said that it would cost around $40 billion over the life of contract “to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety users”. The network of FirstNet will help firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical personnel to communicate information in a single network in real time, instead of communication in thousands of incompatible systems. The construction will begin later this year.
AT&T said that FirstNet will cover all of the 50 states in the United States, and also five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.