Iowa to Transform Communications for Public Safety; Governor Reynolds Approves Buildout Plan for First Responder Network

First-of-its-Kind Solution Will Create Jobs, Spur Investment and Modernize Public Safety Communications throughout the State

RESTON, Va., July 18, 2017 – Iowa is making history. Today, Governor Kim Reynolds announced her decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the State’s public safety community. This will make Iowa one of the first states in the country to “opt in” to FirstNet and bring advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.


“The FirstNet network will not only strengthen and modernize public safety communications in our state, but also bring much needed investment to our communications infrastructure,” Gov. Reynolds said. “The network builds on AT&T’s existing footprint to expand coverage and capacity. AT&T has invested nearly $150 million in its Iowa network infrastructure over the past three years. By partnering with FirstNet, we will be able to expand coverage for first responders. As a result, this will also help to expand coverage for rural Iowans, providing access to a reliable, high speed wireless connection in areas with little or no connectivity today.”

AT&T, in public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Iowa’s public safety community at no cost to the State for the next 25 years. The FirstNet network will deliver innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.

This is one of the most economical and technologically advanced decisions Governor Reynolds will make for the State’s first responders and the residents they serve. The network will transform the way Iowa’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information.

Specifically, FirstNet and AT&T will:


Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies and supporting large events, such as the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, the Freedom Festival in Cedar Rapids or the annual Register Great Bicycle Ride across Iowa.


Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the State during natural disasters. This includes the severe weather that caused storms, high winds and flooding in 2016, impacting 19 counties in Northeast Iowa. Another example would be the 2008 Parkersburg EF5 tornado and floods that touched down in Butler County and other parts of Iowa.


Enhance network coverage in rural areas. This will benefit first responders and residents in rural areas, such as the flood plains, river valleys or prairie areas.


Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the State.


Usher in a new wave of innovation that first responders can depend on. This will create an ever-evolving set of life-saving tools for public safety, including public safety apps, specialized devices and Internet of Things technologies. It also carries the potential for future integration with NextGen 9-1-1 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.

The FirstNet solution that will be built in Iowa was designed with direct input from the State’s public safety community. Since 2013, FirstNet has met with Iowa officials and public safety personnel more than 20 times to address their unique communication needs. This includes:


Bringing the State’s first responders the coverage they need at a competitive price.


Giving rural first responders accelerated access to broadband services.


Building upon Iowa’s efforts to bolster public safety services with advanced technology.

“Iowa is a longtime leader in public safety communications technology, from using public school WiFi to connect emergency personnel on school grounds to today’s decision to become part of the FirstNet network,” said FirstNet President TJ Kennedy. “With Governor Reynold’s decision, Iowa is putting cutting-edge, lifesaving technology in public safety’s hands. FirstNet looks forward to continuing to work with Iowa to build the network and equip the state’s first responders with the technology they need to save lives and keep Iowa’s communities safe.”

The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. Iowa’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.

Preemption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it – 24/7/365, like their mission.

“By opting in, Governor Reynolds is prioritizing the safety and security of her first responders and all those they serve,” said Cheryl Riley, president, AT&T Northern Plains. “FirstNet will drive additional investments in the state that will bring public safety the cutting-edge tools and technologies they need to protect Iowans. And we look forward to continuing our 112-year partnership with Iowa to help its first responders carry out their important mission.”

For more information on FirstNet, please visit and For more about the value FirstNet will bring to public safety, please visit

About FirstNet

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, overseen by a 15 member Board. Chartered in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. Learn more at and follow FirstNet (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network** and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider. We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q4 2016 + Q1 2017 across 121 markets.

For more information contact:

Jeff Kobs
AT&T Corporate Communications
Phone: 214-236-0113
Email: [email protected]

April Ward
FirstNet Media Contact
Phone: 202-853-5219
Email: [email protected]

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