Meanwhile, the District of Columbia and the following eight states have issued an RFP seeking an alternative RAN vendor without having their governors announce an “opt-in/opt-out” decision to date: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

AT&T officials have stated that deployment of LTE on the 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum licensed to FirstNet could begin as early as this year in certain parts of the country. Public-safety agencies in “opt-in” states are eligible to sign FirstNet contracts that give first responders preemptive access across AT&T’s commercial networks immediately.

AT&T will build the FirstNet RAN in “opt-in” states or territories at no cost to those jurisdictions, although individual public-safety entities will be responsible for paying subscription costs and end-user device expenses. However, the law that established FirstNet stipulates that individual public-safety agencies and potential first-responder users are not required to subscribe to the FirstNet service.

“Gov. Rauner’s decision to opt-in to FirstNet shows public safety is a top priority in Illinois,” AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza said in a prepared statement.  “The Governor’s action provides Illinois first responders with immediate access to FirstNet’s life-saving communications tools, and we are proud to support first responders’ mission to protect the people of Illinois every day.”