School Admins Call on Elected Reps in Implementing T-Mobile Plan

After the recent announcement regarding T-Mobile’s plans for its cellular service footprint in Lincoln County, school system leaders have written to the county’s congressional delegation about the need for FCC action, according to the Lincoln Journal.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lincoln County Commissioner K.K. Matthews made the August 3 announcement regarding the T-Mobile decision. The development represented the first confirmation that a major provider was looking to bring new service to Lincoln County, and followed several years of discussions and lobbying by the county’s elected officials. In addition, a number of tower constructions were completed in recent years in the county after grant funding was secured by the county commission. The towers were primarily developed for county communication purposes. However, the possibility of cellular phone providers placing equipment on the towers was a focus of the work by Lincoln County officials and personnel, the Lincoln Journal reported.  

In letters written on August 9, Lincoln County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Midkiff and Lincoln County Board of Education President Steve Priestley asked for assistance from Senator Capito, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV3). The letter thanked the lawmakers for their work to date. “The expansion of this service is crucial to all county residents at home and at school,” the letter said.

Continuing, the letter mentioned the technological needs for T-Mobile to adequately serve the community. Priestley and Midkiff said that the company will need access to the low-band spectrum in the area of the 600 MHz range. “The Lincoln County Board of Education respectfully requests your assistance to move the FCC along with the release of this low band spectrum. The lack of communication infrastructure has created a safety issue for our employees and students and we now have a commitment in our area, thanks to T-Mobile to expand and upgrade cellular service. We need the FCC to expedite the release of this spectrum,” the letter concludes.

September 7, 2017

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