"When an emergency strikes, Pennsylvania first responders are called upon to handle the situation and support the community", Governor Wolf said.
The network will be available through a public-private partnership with FirstNet and AT&T to provide the nation's first reliable communications broadband network for first responders across Pennsylvania, including those in rural areas.
But executives now say kinks have been worked out as states face a December 28 deadline to decide whether they will opt-in to the program, which they say will provide a fundamental shift for public safety communications. "As we have learned from recent events in many parts of the country, a vital component needed for coordinating a response is the ability for all responders on the scene to share information as events unfold".
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Henry McMaster today announced that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making SC the 28th state-not including two territories-to "opt-in" to the FirstNet system. This is imperative when traditional networks can be jammed with consumers using them to reach family and friends during an incident. "We look forward to delivering a sustainable, cutting-edge network that will connect local, state, tribal and federal first responders across the Palmetto State". "FirstNet will carry high-speed data, location information, images, and eventually streaming video that can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations".
The new broadband network does not require additional funding as it is fully funded and self sustaining.
Prior to South Carolina's decision, 27 other states-Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, New Jersey, West Virginia, New Mexico, Michigan, Maine, Montana, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Tennessee, Nebraska, Maryland, Idaho, Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Alabama, Indiana, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania-had announced their "opt-in" decisions, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico territories.
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