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Jamie Barnett was quoted by Communications Daily on August 15, 2017, in an article discussing how opting out of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) could be politically dangerous for governors. FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce created to develop, build, and operate a nationwide broadband network that would allow first responders to communicate.

Barnett, former chief of the FCC Public Safety Bureau, said the 2012 law creating FirstNet "gave states a statutory right to opt out, but they made it exceedingly difficult." The law sets up a process for states to opt out and establishes the radio access network (RAN) for those states, Barnett said. "The procedure is complex and time frames set forth in the act make it difficult to opt out unless significant planning and budgetary work is done prior to the notice given to the state on what FirstNet plans."