DENVER — Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced that Colorado will join FirstNet, the wireless broadband network to be developed specifically to improve communications among first responders and public safety.
“We are opting to allow FirstNet to make an investment in Colorado that promises to make our state more resilient against threats to our safety,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We, together with Colorado’s Governing Board, are confident that the investment will not only benefit public safety, but also provide much needed telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas of our state.”
FirstNet is a public private partnership with AT&T housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce. AT&T will build, operate and maintain the secure wireless broadband communications network 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.
The decision to join FirstNet was based on a review and analysis by the Colorado FirstNet Governing Board, chaired by Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade and composed of members from across the state.
“We need to connect our first responders now. From rural to urban communities, public safety professionals throughout Colorado put their lives at risk every day responding to disasters and critical situations. That is why the State of Colorado spent years visiting with public safety teams statewide, thoroughly reviewing solutions for Colorado,” said Eric Tade, Chief of Denver Fire and Chair of the board reviewing the state’s options. “Our conclusion: opting in to FirstNet is the best solution for Colorado.”
FirstNet is designed to transform the way Colorado’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, it 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 National Western Stock Show or a Saturday afternoon game at Coors Field.
Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state during natural disasters like wildfires, major snow storms, and flooding that can cause damage throughout the year.
Enhance and expand network coverage through infrastructure investment across Colorado’s diverse landscape to cover areas that are currently underserved, benefitting first responders from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope.
Provide first responders with access to dedicated network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support as needed for disaster response or search and rescue missions in remote areas.
Colorado is home to FirstNet’s technology headquarters. The facility, located in Boulder, hosts more than 50 personnel and the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab – a state-of-the-art laboratory in which FirstNet and AT&T test functionality and features unique to FirstNet’s mission-critical broadband network.
The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. Colorado’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service, priority and preemption to voice and data across the FirstNet network. Fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365.
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.