BOISE, Idaho — Idaho has joined 20 other states in an interstate communications network that allows public safety agencies to communicate across jurisdictions during emergencies.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced this week that he signed a letter for Idaho to participate in the First Responder Network Authority, known as FirstNet.

FirstNet, in partnership with AT&T, will build, operate and maintain a secure wireless broadband communications network for Idaho’s public safety community at no cost to the state. It’s expected to boost broadband access in rural areas.

Otter says it’s in Idaho’s best interest to participate in the network.

FirstNet was created in 2012. It followed a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission that a dedicated nationwide broadband network be created to help public safety agencies communicate during large-scale emergencies.