Maryland Touts 1 Year of FirstNet Use, Band 14 Buildout in State
Monday, October 22, 2018 | Comments

One year after Gov. Larry Hogan approved the buildout of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) in Maryland by AT&T, first responders in Maryland are benefitting from enhanced emergency communications, a statement said.

Denis Dunn, president, AT&T in Maryland, said the wireless spectrum allocated to public safety for the operation of the FirstNet network platform — 700 MHz band 14 — has already been deployed to existing and new sites across the state, and it will continue to be rapidly deployed to additional sites. In addition to supporting first responders, these and other network upgrades will provide mobile broadband coverage and capacity to many underserved areas of the state, creating more access to mobile broadband for more Marylanders.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford led a forum on the positive impacts FirstNet has had on public-safety communications in the state in the year since Maryland joined the nationwide public safety communications platform.

"During times of crisis, communications is key,” said Rutherford. “Our administration is committed to working with our first responders at all levels — local, state and federal — to ensure we are able to stay connected. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this public-private partnership to innovate our public-safety operations and keep our communities safe. The success FirstNet has seen in its first year is a shining example of what can be accomplished when we work together.”

Last spring, parts of Washington County experienced extreme flooding. The emergency responses required quick and efficient coordination among first responders. FirstNet was central to the effort, according to Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore, whose agency was one of the first in the nation and in Maryland to subscribe to FirstNet services, a statement said.

"When disaster hit, we relied on FirstNet to keep us connected,” Mullendore said. “We even called in a satellite cell on light truck (SatCOLT), boosting our ability to communicate and coordinate our emergency response beyond the low bandwidth Wi-Fi some of our personnel were using. We are pleased that Gov. Hogan approved the FirstNet state plan, opening the door for us to take advantage of this dedicated network platform to better serve Washington County, especially when our community needed it most.”

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