New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu this week sent a letter to governors in states and territories, encouraging them to withhold their FirstNet ‘opt-in/opt-out’ decisions until more clarity is provided about all of the financial and regulatory risks that pursuing the “opt-out” alternative would entail.

In a letter dated Oct. 23 about the FirstNet “opt-in/opt-out” choice, Sununu told other governors that “I believe there are some very important questions that still need to be answered, and I urge each of you to hold off on making a final decision while we seek further information from federal officials.”

Under the law that established FirstNet, governors in all 56 states and territories have the choice of making an “opt-in” decision—accepting the FirstNet deployment plan and allowing AT&T to build the LTE radio access network (RAN) within the state’s borders at no cost to the state—or pursuing the “opt-out” alternative, which would require the state to be responsible for building and maintaining the RAN for the next 25 years. Governors have until Dec. 28 to make their decisions.

New Hampshire has been at the forefront of the “opt-out” discussion, as the state issued its request for proposal (RFP) seeking a vendor to potentially build an alternative (RAN) under an “opt-out” scenario even before FirstNet released its RFP for a nationwide contractor that was won by AT&T. New Hampshire completed the procurement last year and selected Rivada Networks as its contractor, if the state achieves “opt-out” status.

Early this month, New Hampshire’s state interoperability executive committee unanimously voted—with 15 affirmative votes and 2 abstentions—to recommend that Sununu decide to pursue the “opt-out” alternative. On Oct. 16, Sununu issued an executive order acknowledging the SIEC recommendation on technical grounds and creating a new Opt-Out Review Committee to assess the regulatory and financial risks the state would face under an “opt-out” scenario.

“In the coming weeks, our Opt-Out Review Committee will conduct a thorough legal and financial due-diligence review, which will include seeking clarification from federal officials on fees and penalties that may be imposed by FirstNet in the event that an opt-out is unsuccessful,” Sununu said in the letter to governors. “Our initial review of these fees and penalties has raised some serious questions, and I believe each of us must have the answers to these questions before we make our final decision. Our first responders deserve nothing less.”

In the letter, Sununu notes that a House subcommittee will conduct a hearing next Wednesday to examine some of the issues facing governors as they prepare to make their “opt-in/opt-out” decisions.

“I strongly encourage each of you to pause and work with us as we seek further answers from federal officials. We are hoping to complete our due diligence by Nov. 21,” Sununu’s letter states. “Whether you ultimately decided to opt in or opt out, I believe that we will all benefit by a collective insistence that each state receive the information it needs to make a fully informed decision.”

FirstNet issued the following statement in response to Sununu’s letter.

“We look forward to continue working with Gov. Sununu’s office to answer his questions about the state plan as New Hampshire closely examines the risks of Rivada’s opt-out plan,” according to the FirstNet statement. “And we will continue to work closely with all of the governors and their teams to help ensure their first responders get the highest-quality, most-reliable broadband network that will serve them for many years to come.”