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                                type that we’re very familiar with.” California was the last state to opt in to FirstNet. In November 2017, it issued a request for proposals from vendors that would build and maintain the radio access network should the state opt out, but on Dec. 28, Gov. Edmund Brown announced, “While California remains concerned that the proposed plan does not address all our State’s needs, California is opting into the
plan with the expectation that our con- cerns will be address throughout our part- nership.”
“AT&T is committed to ensuring that our criminal justice and non-criminal justice FirstNet customers with a need to be CJIS- compliant are fully aware of the value- added services that the FirstNet ecosystem provides,” the spokesman said. “Our First- Net Strategy and Policy Team stands ready
to help such agencies fully understand the mobile device and network compliance re- quirements of the CJIS Security Policy and how the FirstNet ecosystem does or does not meet such requirements on its own or through the use of value-added or exter- nal services and solutions.”
Medigovich said the state continues to work with the company “to ensure a long- term partnership.”
Before opting in to FirstNet, the state issued a request for proposals asking vendors to show what a public safety network would look like. But any network the state built would take time to complete. AT&T had the ad- vantage of being able to offer services right away. “There’s really no risk at all or financial commitment, but we lose a lot of local control, even state control,” Shepherd said.
Had it opted out, the state would have been able to tai- lor the network to its specific needs and use the infrastruc- ture for other critical com- munications, but at a great fi- nancial risk, he said. “When it came down to it, I think that’s really what the tradeoff was,” Shepherd added.
AT&T has started building the FirstNet platform using its existing LTE infrastructure as the foundation. The plan is
for the company to put Band 14 spec- trum on tens of thousands of new and existing towers nationwide in the next five years. AT&T will build a dedicated evolved packet core network with end- to-end encryption through which all FirstNet traffic will be routed.
“The early builders played an im- portant role in influencing the design of FirstNet,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president for AT&T FirstNet said in an email. “We learned a lot from their ex- periences, and we look forward to inte- grating their best practices and network assets into the FirstNet solution we are bringing forward.”
 Colorado gets a leg up on FirstNet deployment
As one of the Early Builders for FirstNet’s nationwide broadband public safety network, Colorado officials expect their experience testing the demonstration network’s capabilities will help as applica- tions and devices come online.
The lessons learned from the applications, devices and oper- ational sides and “can help our state move forward quickly and take advantage of the technol- ogy shift and really try to get ahead of the curve,” said Brian Shepherd, broadband program manager at the state’s Office of Information Technology.
But other lessons won’t ap-
ply since the First Responder Network Authority, an inde- pendent agency within the Commerce Department, tapped AT&T last March to build the network. “Some of those les- sons we learned in terms of building a network won’t really be applicable any- more because we’re not going to build a new network,” Shepherd said. “We’re just going to use AT&T’s network.”
As one of five Early Builders nation- wide, Colorado launched an LTE net- work in 2014 and tested it during sever- al events, such as the 2015 International Ski Federation’s Alpine World Ski Cham- pionship in Vail, when participants used push to talk (PTT), viewed enhanced video surveillance from five cameras
on Band Class 14, and set up hunter safety checkpoints with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. For that, participants used wireless, ruggedized handheld devices on the same network to scan radio fre-
 quency identification tags and query and enter information into databases in real time.
“Our focus is now on the implementa- tion and working with agencies across the state to say, ‘Let’s use those lessons that we learned from those tests and work towards implementation,’” Shep- herd said. “How can we help agencies implement this technology better? What do they need to do? What do we need to set up to be able to communicate across different agencies, whether that’s lo- cal to state to federal, or whether that’s transportation to public health to law enforcement?”

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