Gen. John F. Nichols (right) as he and Commissioner John Sharp (rear) arrive for a briefing on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts at the new FEMA Joint Field Office on Thursday in Austin.

But competition to provide wireless services to first responders is increasing: Rivada Networks is also fighting for a piece of the market and is responding to states that issue RFPs seeking vendors willing to build and maintain a statewide public safety radio access network that would be interoperable with FirstNet’s service.

Greg Abbott today announced that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making Texas the 21st state-not including two territories-to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system. If Abbott had chosen to opt out, Texas would have had to develop its own equivalent. Prior to the Texas decision, 20 other states-Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, New Jersey, West Virginia, New Mexico, Michigan, Maine, Montana, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Tennessee, Nebraska, Maryland and Idaho-had announced their “opt-in” decisions, as did the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico territories.

“Keeping Marylanders safe is our top priority, and our first responders need to be equipped with every tool possible to protect our citizens”, Gov. Larry Hogan said in a press release.

Texas becomes the latest state to opt in to the FirstNet network. It’s expected that AT&T will provide by the end of the year pre-emption over its LTE network, meaning “fire, police and EMS will have dedicated access to the network when they need it”, according to a FirstNet release from June.

In addition, it will strengthen emergency response communications “for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state to support the preparation and response to natural disasters such as the recent and ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey”.

The budget also covers customer outreach, product marketing and development activities meant to help ensure the network will address current and future needs of first responders.

AUSTIN – State officials announced Tuesday that Texas will opt-in to a new nationwide broadband network created to boost the communication abilities of first responders, a move that will help with response to future disasters like Hurricane Harvey.