FirstNet to provide U.S. telco with 20 MHz of spectrum, payments of $6.5 billion.

AT&T this week won a 25-year contract to design, build and operate a nationwide broadband network for U.S. emergency services.

Called FirstNet, the network will cover all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, and all rural communities and tribal lands within those states and territories. The network itself will run on 20 MHz of dedicated spectrum.

"Today is a landmark day for public safety across the nation and shows the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships," said U.S. Department of Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, in a statement on Thursday. "FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure."

The network will cost AT&T $40 billion (€37.4 billion) to roll out. The telco will receive success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the deployment.

As well as helping to connect people directly to first responders, FirstNet will also develop public safety-focused IoT and smart city solutions, providing near real-time information on traffic conditions, for example, in order to establish the fastest route to an emergency, as well as connecting wearable sensors and cameras attached either to people, drones or robots.

"FirstNet is unprecedented in its vision, scope and importance to our nation and the future of public safety communications. We’re honoured to be selected for this historic and critical initiative," said said Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Global Public Sector.