West Virginia Signs Up for FirstNet

Becomes seventh state to endorse emergency network buildout plan

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 Commissioner 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.

West Virginia's announcement comes the day after New Jersey also said it would align with FirstNet. The first five states to sign on were (in order) VirginiaWyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky and Iowa.

“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 Gov. Justice and AT&T to expand mobile broadband access for both our first responders and all West Virginians.”

States can opt to build out their own networks with another provider, but those networks must be interoperable with the AT&T/FirstNet network.

FirstNet has created an online map to track state sign-ups.