Governor Abbott Announces Partnership With FirstNet And AT&T To Modernize Public Safety Communications

September 19, 2017 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced Texas will partner with FirstNet and AT&T to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public safety community. The FirstNet network will provide Texas with modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders to boost their communication abilities on the job. This plan will improve public safety and enhance emergency preparedness across the state by providing first responders with cutting edge communication technologies. Texas is one of many states across the country opting in to the FirstNet Network.
"The safety and security of Texas communities is my number one priority, and I want to provide our first responders with the best technology possible," said Governor Abbott. "As we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, our first responders are often the last and only hope for safety in rapidly-changing and life-threatening situations, but this partnership with FirstNet and AT&T, allows Texas’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel to be better equipped when responding in these emergencies."
”With Governor Abbott's decision to join FirstNet, Texas continues to lead the way on public safety by taking emergency response and innovation to the next level,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth.  “We are honored to serve the state’s first responders and will continue to collaborate with them to ensure the Network delivers what they need, both now and in the future.”
This new wireless broadband network will drastically improve communication and information sharing  in response to natural disasters by:
•Connecting 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 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, which hosts over 2 million visitors each year.
•Strengthening emergency response communications for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state to support the preparation and response to natural disasters such as the recent and ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey.
•Enhancing network coverage across Texas’s topographically diverse landscape, benefitting first responders and residents throughout the state’s rural and tribal areas.
•Driving infrastructure investments and creating jobs across the state.
•Ushering 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 NextGen 9-1-1 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.
FirstNet has met with Texas public safety officials including the Texas Interoperable Communications Coalition (TXICC) and the Texas Department of Public Safety to address specific safety needs across the state:
•Expanded coverage and coordination with deployable solutions and additional investments beyond what is currently available from commercial carriers with a focus on underserved public schools, hospitals, public safety answering points, the Texas-Mexico border, tribal areas and hurricane evacuation routes.
•Leveraging the investment and innovation of the Texas Early Builder Program in Harris County to solidify their participation as a thought leader in the development of not only technology, but the service solutions that are intuitive and meet the expectations of the public safety community.
•Incorporating lessons learned from events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Super Bowl LI to inform how the Network can support response and recovery activities and utilize best practices related to response to disasters.