Many sources within state governments and potential opt-out vendor have expressed concerns about these payments and penalties, with some characterizing them as “punitive” or effectively making the opt-out alternative a “false choice” that involves too much risk to be considered seriously by governors.

In addition to these payments and penalties, state representatives have expressed concerns about other “unknowns” that have not been addressed to date. Some of these items include the payments an “opt-out” state must make to access the FirstNet core network, exactly how applications would be managed in an “opt-out” state, and whether AT&T would be able to offer “FirstNet” services in an “opt-out” state.

FirstNet released its initial state plans on June 19 and made them actionable, so governors would have the opportunity to “opt-in” to FirstNet prior to the final state plans being released on Sept. 29. Governors in 53 states and territories that received initial state plans on June 19—the exceptions being the Pacific territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Island, which will have a separate timetable—are required to make their “opt-in/opt-out” decisions by Dec. 28.

Thus far, 25 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 and Indiana—have announced their “opt-in” decisions, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico territories.

Meanwhile, 14 states have issued an RFP without having their governors announce an “opt-in/opt-out” decision to date: Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Of these states, New Hampshire is only state to announce the winner of its procurement—Rivada Networks.