How many towers will the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) build? How many towers will FirstNet rent? Tower construction companies and tower owners with space to lease want to know. Michael Poth, CEO of FirstNet, said he could not say how many towers First- Net will construct because that part of the project is still evolving. Speaking of the company selected by FirstNet to build the network, Poth said: “AT&T will make use of existing towers when it makes economic sense. Where AT&T doesn’t have towers, FirstNet will construct greenfield towers.” At InSite Wireless Group, owner of the sixth-largest U.S. tower portfolio, president and CEO David E. Weisman said the benefit of FirstNet’s network construction will be felt nationwide. “It will be a catalyst for growth for the infrastructure providers,” he said. At American Tower, owner of the second-largest U.S. tower portfolio, Steven C. Marshall, president of the U.S. Tower Division, said the company’s portfolio will be extremely important for FirstNet’s contractor, AT&T, to achieve its goals. At SBA Communications, owner of the third-largest U.S. tower portfolio, president and CEO Jeffrey A. Stoops said it’s a smart move for AT&T to piggyback its radio-frequency spectrum deployment with the FirstNet roll-out. “FirstNet will be a good thing for the wireless infrastructure industry for many years to come,” Stoops said. On June 19, FirstNet presented plans to the governors of 56 states and U.S. territories that, if implemented, would provide those jurisdictions with the FirstNet public safety broadband wireless network facilities. James Douglas, a FirstNet board member and former Vermont governor, said the governors have the responsibility of deciding whether to assume responsibility for building the radio access network or allowing FirstNet to do it. “I hope that governors across America will get the information they need to build out the network in their respective states,” Douglas said. “If a state elects to opt out and to go with a different vendor to develop its local network, we’ll certainly do everything we can to make that successful.” For wireless infrastructure companies, sales to FirstNet may begin to flow at the end of this year or in 2018. Members Only The number of FCC members soon may rise from three to five. On June 29, President Donald Trump nominated Brendan Carr, the agency’s general counsel, to become an FCC commissioner. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Carr would join Jessica Rosenworcel in filling two open seats on the five-member regulatory body. Don Bishop, Executive Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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