Gov. John Carney signed a letter Dec. 22 opting into a federal First Responder Network Authority — FirstNet — plan to build a wireless broadband network intended to improve communications for first responders across Delaware.

The FirstNet plan would allow Delaware police agencies, fire and emergency medical services responders to communicate more effectively by prioritizing their cellphone calls and data requests on the network. Carney’s decision to opt-in allows FirstNet to move forward in building out a broadband network that, if implemented, would allow for efficient communications among emergency responders.

“Our first responders need access to state-of-the-art technology to communicate and respond effectively during emergency situations,” said Carney. “This is only a first step, but this plan has real potential to prioritize communications among law enforcement agencies, fire and EMS personnel; and help our first responders protect the lives of Delawareans across our state.”

FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Authorized by Congress in 2012, its mission is to develop, build and operate the first nationwide, high-speed, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. FirstNet will build, operate and maintain a secure wireless broadband communications network at no cost to the state.