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WV expanding emergency communications network

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CHARLESTON (AP) — A $33 million project is under way to expand West Virginia's emergency communications tower network.

Workers are erecting new towers and installing new radio equipment and satellite dishes at existing tower sites.

The Charleston Gazette reports that state officials hope to have the expanded network operational by June 30, 2013.

For the first time, commercial providers will be given access to the network. That will allow them to make high-speed Internet available to homes in rural communities.

The existing network is used only by first responders, police officers, firefighters, 911 operators and paramedics.

When the upgrade is completed, the towers will cover 87 percent of the state. Radio use is strictly restricted in a 100-square-mile area surrounding the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.