Wisconsin to Transform Communications for Public Safety

I’d like to share some exciting and historic news with you.

Gov. Scott Walker has announced that he has accepted the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to Wisconsin’s public safety community. Wisconsin is the most recent state to opt in to FirstNet, bringing advanced technologies that will help first responders save lives and protect communities.

Read more below.

We’ve appreciated the chance to work with the Governor’s team, public safety leaders statewide, and state legislators to address their questions and craft a strong plan for Wisconsin. We look forward to working with the public safety community and leaders statewide to create an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications.


Scott T. VanderSanden
President — AT&T Wisconsin

Gov. Walker approves buildout plan for First Responder Network

First-of-its-Kind Solution Will Spur Investment and Modernize Public Safety Communications across Wisconsin

On Friday, Gov. Scott Walker announced his decision to accept the First Responder Network Authority* and AT&T** plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public safety community. FirstNet will bring advanced technologies that will help Wisconsin’s first responders save lives and protect communities.

“Clear and reliable communication is essential for first responders to do their jobs effectively,” said Gov. Walker. “This new partnership provides crucial, secure, and robust broadband access to our first responders and public safety personnel to help them save lives when every second counts. I look forward to FirstNet and AT&T implementing their plan and its widespread positive effect in protecting Wisconsin’s communities.”

AT&T, in a public private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Wisconsin’s public safety community at no cost to the state for the next 25 years.

The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.

FirstNet will transform the way Wisconsin’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, it 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 like college and professional sporting games.
  • Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state during natural disasters and severe weather, including tornadoes, snowstorms, blizzards and flooding.
  • Enhance and expand network coverage along Wisconsin’s lakes and waterways to cover areas underserved today, benefitting first responders and residents throughout the state’s rural communities.
  • Provide first responders with access to dedicated network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support when needed.
  • Usher in a new wave of dependable innovations for first responders. 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 911 networks and Smart Cities’ infrastructure.


The First Responder Network Authority and AT&T designed Wisconsin’s network solution with direct input from the state’s public safety community. The Authority has been meeting with Wisconsin’s officials and public safety personnel for several years to address their unique communication needs. These include:

  • Expanding wireless coverage in rural, tribal and underserved areas.
  • Enabling state, local and federal agencies to effectively communicate and coordinate along Wisconsin’s borders.
  • Increasing capacity during emergencies and natural disasters through the use of deployable network assets.
  • Using existing state infrastructure where necessary and appropriate.

“By joining the FirstNet network, Gov. Walker has made public safety a priority, choosing the best network communications solution for the state,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “FirstNet brings new technologies to emergency first responders in Wisconsin over the most modernized and advanced broadband network available today. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Badger State.”

The decision enables the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. Wisconsin’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service, priority and preemption to voice and data across the FirstNet network.

By opting in to FirstNet, fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers subscribing to the service will have dedicated access to the information they need, when and where they need it – 24/7/365, like their mission.

“We applaud Governor Walker for opting in to FirstNet and giving Wisconsin’s public safety community the cutting-edge technologies they need to help protect and save lives,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “AT&T is honored to work with the state to bring FirstNet to Wisconsin, and to give our first responders the innovative communication tools they deserve.”

For more information on FirstNet, please visit FirstNet.gov/mediakit and att.com/FirstResponderNews. For more about the value FirstNet will bring to public safety, please visit FirstNet.com.

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Scott T. VanderSanden has served as the president of AT&T Wisconsin since November 2006. In 2018, he was appointed as the president of AT&T Plains States, with oversight over Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

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