Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T's global public sector solutions business, told Dallas Business Journal staff writer Shawn Shinneman in an interview published Thursday that the company plans to provide priority and pre-emption service to first responders by the end of 2017 under a 25-year public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority.
The Commerce Department's FirstNet awarded AT&T in March a potential $6.5 billion contract to build and maintain a national public safety broadband network for first responders through that partnership.
Kapoor said in the interview that the telecommunications firm will work with FirstNet to transition the public safety traffic to the band 14 network in the next five years with plans to cover tribal and rural areas in the U.S. and open the network to commercial users.
“So when the [request for proposals] came out, they allowed the company to commercialize the spectrum so long as the public safety users were kept whole,“ she added.
She told the Business Journal she expects the national wireless broadband network to result in the development of internet of things and smart cities capabilities for first responders and become a “self-sustaining network“ within 25 years.
Kapoor, who was appointed president of AT&T's newly formed global public sector segment this month, also cited the reason behind the company's decision to consolidate federal, local, state and international public sector operations into a single group.