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FirstNet in Vermont

First Responder Network Authority

FirstNet, or the First Responder Network Authority, is a federal agency formed to ensure the building, deployment and operation of the first high-speed nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. The FirstNet Authority was created by Congress in 2012 as a result of recommendations made by members of the 9/11 commission. The enabling legislation mandated a public/private partnership that would allow FirstNet to eventually become self-sufficient. Following a 15-month national RFP process, AT&T was selected to build the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. In exchange for the spectrum access and financial resources brought by FirstNet, AT&T has committed to spending $40 billion over the life of the 25-year contract to build, operate and maintain the network. AT&T may profit from leasing unused or underutilized portions of the dedicated spectrum to nonpublic safety subscribers. Public safety users are NOT required to use the FirstNet system, but may elect to subscribe and pay rates comparable to or below current cellular rate plans offered by companies nationwide.

Request for Uplift of FirstNet Subscriber Phone Number

Only a primary FirstNet subscriber may uplift an extended primary subscriber. The primary subscriber usually is an incident commander or the chief or director of a direct first responder agency. Uplift is only needed in the instance that cell phone towers are inundated, and it is anticipated that a cellular call or data transfer could be inhibited in making a timely connection. Requests for uplift in anticipation of such a scenario are discouraged. Uplift requests determined to be needed by a primary subscriber are made through the FirstNet portal by the primary subscriber. The primary subscriber must identify the emergency and the need for the uplift. An uplift request is normally for a 48-hour period. The uplift period can be extended up to a maximum of 30 days but must be renewed by the primary subscriber every 48 hours. Extended primary users who are experiencing connection issues and are a part of an emergency response may request uplift through the Vermont Emergency Management Watch Officer. The Watch Officer may be contacted 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-347-0488. The Watch Officer would then contact Radio Technology Services personnel who will validate the need for the uplift and will then initiate the uplift.

IMPORTANT: Uplift is normally initiated by the agency or incident commander in charge of the emergency response who anticipates or validates a need for the extended primary user.

Work in Vermont

AT&T is starting an ambitious buildout with the support of designated funding from FirstNet. When Vermont decided to opt-in to the federally overseen network, AT&T committed to building 36 FirstNet sites in the state. More than half of those sites are new and must progress through the permitting process. The contract also requires a minimum number of public safety subscribers be achieved per state. If AT&T does not meet the minimum subscriber numbers in the contract, the FirstNet Authority can levy financial penalties against the company.

Historic timeline of FirstNet in Vermont


The FirstNet project is housed within the Radio Technology Services unit of the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety wants to work closely with Vermont's first responders to receive input on the network's coverage and services. Contact us at (802) 229-0882.

Visit the federal government FirstNet Authority web site at

Visit the commercial AT&T FirstNet subscriber web site at The FirstNet Customer Care phone number for EXISTING customers is 1-800-574-7000.

Archival Content

The Public Safety Broadband Network Commission (PSBC) was reconstituted into the Emergency Communications Advisory Council on July 9, 2019.