Iowa has become the fifth state to agree to be part of the AT&T-FirstNet national plan for an interoperable emergency first responder network.
The other four are Virginia (the first), Wyoming, Arkansas and Kentucky.
States are also allowed to come up with their own plans, but they must dovetail with the AT&T-FirstNet state plans.
"Iowa is a longtime leader in public safety communications technology, from using public school Wi-Fi to connect emergency personnel on school grounds to today's decision to become part of the FirstNet network," said FirstNet president TJ Kennedy in a statement. "With Governor Reynolds’ decision, Iowa is putting cutting-edge, lifesaving technology in public safety's hands. FirstNet looks forward to continuing to work with Iowa to build the network and equip the state's first responders with the technology they need to save lives and keep Iowa's communities safe."
It was only about six weeks ago that the Department of Commerce (FirstNet is an independent authority within Commerce) announced AT&T had been awarded the multi-billion-dollar, 25-year contract to build and maintain FirstNet, the interoperable first responder public safety network proposed by the 911 Commission well over a decade ago following communication failures during the attack's tragic aftermath.
The network was funded through the FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction.
States can submit alternative plans for deploying emergency communications, but they must be interoperable with the FirstNet national plan.