First responders are getting their radio network — from AT&T
Police and firefighters are finally getting the priority communications network they were promised in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In exchange for building it, AT&T gets $6.5 billion in government funds over the next five years and access to a large chunk of valuable airwaves for 25 years.
Why it matters: Technical failures and incompatible radios have been a chronic problem for first responders — especially on 9/11, when firefighters rushing to the scene from different jurisdictions couldn't talk to each other. AT&T won the contract to build a national mobile broadband network — FirstNet —specifically dedicated to first responders, which is the final recommendation by the 9/11 Commission.