FirstNet, the network for first responders, has launched preemption for public safety subscribers. AT&T, which is building out FirstNet will give first responders network traffic priority during crisis events.
Preemption will only be available to state subscribers that have already opted-in to FirstNet. So far, 36 states and some US territories have opted-in to the network.
Right now, states that opt-in to FirstNet are getting access to AT&T’s existing LTE network while a dedicated network is being completed. Preemption will let first responders skip the line on the existing LTE network in order to facilitate crisis communications.
For states that opt-out of FirstNet, becoming interoperable with AT&T’s network could be a tall order. New Hampshire has already opted-out of the network and will be working with telecommunications company Rivada on a local network. Rivada originally bid for the whole FirstNet project but wasn’t chosen. Verizon is also offering a competitor network.
In a statement AT&T said, “an opt-out state will not be able to offer its first responders access to a similar capability until its alternative plan is approved and Band 14 is deployed, which will likely take years.”