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

Governors in four states have not announced an “opt-in” decision or had state officials issue an RFP seeking a potential alternative RAN vendor: Delaware, Florida, New York and North 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 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 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.

“Bringing first responders the best possible public-safety network is the shared mission of Gov. Raimondo and her staff, along with AT&T and FirstNet,” Patricia Jacobs, president, AT&T New England, said in a prepared statement. “We're pleased that Rhode Island has elected to join the growing list of states and territories opting into FirstNet. It's a decision that will have a huge positive impact on public safety and on Rhode Island's residents for years to come.”