AT&T’s nationwide first responder network scored approval for a build out from Texas on Tuesday – the largest state so far to opt-in to FirstNet.

Texas joins Idaho and Maryland, which also opted in this week, bringing the number of states and territories to sign on up to 23, past the 40 percent mark.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday accepted AT&T and FirstNet’s plan to build, operate, and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for the state’s public safety community. 

"The safety and security of Texas communities is my number one priority, and I want to provide our first responders with the best technology possible," Governor Abbott commented. "As we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, our first responders are often the last and only hope for safety in rapidly-changing and life-threatening situations, but this partnership with FirstNet and AT&T, allows Texas’s fire, police, EMS, and other public safety personnel to be better equipped when responding in these emergencies."

Tennessee, New Jersey, and New Mexico, are among the other states to approve a FirstNet build.

Governors in all 56 states and territories have the option to choose FirstNet or opt out and go with another service provider, however any alternative network must be interoperable with FirstNet.

Rivada Networks is aiming to be another option for states, as is Verizon, which announced plans in August to build its own dedicated network core for first responders.

Verizon indicated it will offer multi-band devices that provide Band 14 access and enable full interoperability with Band 14 radio access networks deployed by FirstNet.