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*** AT&T plans to be almost three-quarters finished with its FirstNet buildout by year's end, according to the company's chief.

In 2017, AT&T won a contract from the First Responder Network Authority worth potentially over $6 billion over 25 years to build the nationwide broadband wireless network for public safety and first responders.

In a July 24 earnings call, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said that at the end of this quarter, his company was about 60 percent complete with its national coverage for FirstNet, which he noted is ahead of schedule. Because of that, the company has targeted 70 percent completion by the end of the year.

The company said the FirstNet build-out is also fueling its 5G deployment. "As we deploy FirstNet, we're installing hardware that could be upgraded to 5G with a simple software release. As a result, we're on track for nationwide 5G coverage by the first half of 2020."

*** Lawmakers are voicing concerns that the U.S. is not devoting enough attention to artificial intelligence and that the lack of focus and resources could make the difference in the global race for AI dominance.

"We've arrived overconfident and underprepared," Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) said at a July 24 Politico AI event.

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) agreed. "If we want to be the country that leads in artificial intelligence -- and we should want to do that -- then we need to devote resources that are not quite there yet."

Posted on Jul 26, 2019 at 12:36 AM


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