Buildout plan approved for First Responder Network

Gov. Bill Walker has signed a letter of intent to allow the First Responder Network Authority to proceed with deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network in Alaska.

The plan would bring a second broadband network to the public safety sector to help first responders in Alaska save lives, Walker said Aug. 30.

FirstNet gives fire, police, emergency medical services and other public safety personnel priority network access during a crisis. The network would connect them with information quickly and securely, and expedite response to emergencies, natural disasters, and day-to-day operations.

The state will incur no risk or cost for the network, which will expand coverage for rural Alaska. By growing network access for first responders, a reliable high-speed connection will be available in areas currently having little to no connectivity.

Alaska officials and the public safety sector have provided extensive input on the decision, meeting with FirstNet over 20 times to ensure the network addresses the state’s unique challenges, the governor said. The state will continue to work with stakeholders to provide feedback to ensure a viable and effective partnership, he said.