FirstNet released its initial state plans on June 19 and made them actionable, so governors would have the opportunity to “opt-in” to FirstNet prior to the final state plans. Gov. Justice’s decision today means West Virginia is the seventh state to accept the FirstNet state plan. Previously, governors in the states of Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa and New Jersey announced their “opt-in” decisions.

AT&T officials have stated that deployment of LTE on FirstNet’s 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum could begin as early as this year in certain parts of the country. Public-safety agencies in “opt-in” states are eligible to sign FirstNet contracts that give first responders priority access across AT&T’s commercial networks immediately and preemptive access by the end of the year.

“First responders put their lives on the line every day,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet, said in a prepared statement. “They deserve access to modern communications tools that will help them keep themselves and those they protect safe. And that's exactly what we'll deliver with Governor Justice's decision to opt-in to FirstNet.”