Several states have started weighing alternative plans to the First Responder Network Authority’s initial outlines to create and operate a broadband network that supports first responder groups. Here’s what Arizona, Colorado, and New Hampshire are considering.
President Donald Trump announced that rural broadband expansion will be included in his $1 trillion infrastructure package, which Trump said will be released “very shortly.” The increased funding for rural broadband expansion is needed. According to FCC data, only 55 percent of rural residents have access to downloads faster than 25 megabits per second, compared to 94 percent in urban areas.
AT&T was awarded a $6.5 billion contract to build and operate the nationwide network FirstNet. However, the legislation that authorizes FirstNet also authorizes a state to develop its own alternative on the spectrum carved out for the network, as long as the alternative is interoperable with the FirstNet core.
The Federal Communications Commission should consult with tribal leaders and enact a tribal priority for spectrum allocation, according to Loris Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Native Public Media. Forty-one percent of Americans living on tribal lands lack access to broadband compared to 6 percent of total Americans, according to the FCC.