West Virginia has become the seventh state to sign up for the AT&T-FirstNet interoperable emergency communications buildout plan.
The network was one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission following the communications issues with first responders and was funded with proceeds from the FCC's spectrum auctions.
AT&T is building, operating and maintaining the network in partnership with FirstNet, which is an independent authority under the Department of Commerce.
“Mobile broadband access is a critical, life-saving technology that needs to be in the hands of every first responder in West Virginia and across the country,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “I commend Governor [Jim] Justice’s decision to expand mobile broadband coverage for our public safety community through FirstNet and I applaud AT&T’s efforts to help modernize our public safety communications infrastructure. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Justice and AT&T to expand mobile broadband access for both our first responders and all West Virginians.”
States could opt to build out their own networks with another provider, but they have to be interoperable with the AT&T/FirstNet network.
For those who want to track which states have signed on, FirstNet has created an online map.