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Members of law enforcement watch the main protest camp 24/7 from a number of vantage points on the Cannonball Ranch in December 2016.

North Dakota will participate in the First Responder Network Authority with AT&T to establish a wireless communications network that will help first responders better serve and protect the public in times of need, according to an announcement made by Gov. Doug Burgum.

Burgum signed a letter Thursday notifying FirstNet that North Dakota has decided to opt in to the rollout of the nationwide interoperable broadband network, as proposed in the FirstNet State Plan. The decision to opt in was also a recommendation by North Dakota’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee.

“First responders need access to the latest communications technologies to do their jobs most effectively, and events like the Dakota Access Pipeline protests demonstrated the important need for a common system to enable communication between and among first responders,” Burgum said. 

“FirstNet provides another valuable tool for the North Dakota Highway Patrol in order for us to effectively communicate among first responders as we work together to keep the citizens of our state safe and secure,” Major Brandon Solberg, of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, established by Congress in 2012 to build, operate and maintain a nationwide, high-speed wireless broadband network for first responders and other public safety personnel leveraging AT&T’s existing LTE (4G) network as a foundation. 

For more information about FirstNet, visit or the North Dakota FirstNet website at