“Gov. Cooper and his staff have been extremely thorough and thoughtful in evaluating North Carolina’s participation in this nationwide public safety broadband network,” Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina, said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate and understand their diligence, for it matches our commitment to delivering this first-of-its-kind communications solution.

“We are honored to bring the FirstNet network to North Carolina and connect its public-safety community to the life-saving technologies they—and our residents—deserve.”

Prior to North Carolina’s decision, 29 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, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Utah—had announced their “opt-in” decisions, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico territories.

Meanwhile, the District of Columbia and 12 states have issued an RFP without having their governors announce an “opt-in/opt-out” decision to date: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. Of these states, New Hampshire is only state to announce the winner of its procurement—Rivada Networks.

Eight governors in the following states have not announced an “opt-in” decision or had state officials issue an RFP seeking a potential alternative RAN vendor: California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New York, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.

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 priority access across AT&T’s commercial networks immediately and preemptive access by the end of the year.

AT&T will build the FirstNet RAN in “opt-in” states or territories at no cost to each jurisdiction, although local 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.