COLUMBIA – S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster was joined Thursday by law enforcement personnel and first responders from around the state to announce a new communications network for South Carolina’s first responders.

AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a secure wireless broadband communications network for South Carolina’s public safety community at no cost to the state.

“When an emergency happens, South Carolina’s first responders are there, putting their lives on the line to serve and save others,” McMaster said. “Our public safety personnel need and deserve resources that will help keep them safe and allow them to deliver the best possible services for our communities, and that’s why I’m proud to work with FirstNet and AT&T to bring this innovative technology to our state.”

"Gov. McMaster's decision demonstrates his strong commitment to public safety," FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said. "We look forward to delivering a sustainable, cutting-edge network that will connect local, state, tribal, and federal first responders across the Palmetto State."

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was created by Congress through passage of The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and has been authorized and directed to create and operate a national wireless broadband network for public safety personnel.

“We appreciate the seriousness and diligence Gov. McMaster and his team brought to the question of South Carolina’s opt in,” said Pamela Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina.

“It matches our own commitment to delivering this first-of-its-kind communications tool for first responders. We’re honored to bring FirstNet to South Carolina and connect its public safety community to the life-saving technologies they, and our residents, deserve.”

Federal law requires FirstNet to present draft plans to every state describing general details of the propose construction of the network, and in June, FirstNet and AT&T made their draft plan available to South Carolina’s review team.

That review team was made up of representatives from state agencies and county governments, including the State Law Enforcement Division, the Department of Administration, the Department of Public Safety, and local public safety officials.

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