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Hogan approves buildout plan for first responder network

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday the state will advance communications for first responders by opting in to the FirstNet and AT&T plan. This state-of-the-art plan will deliver a wireless broadband network to Maryland’s public safety community, allowing for faster, more informed and better coordinated responses. Through FirstNet’s advanced technologies, Maryland’s first responder subscribers will now have additional resources to help save lives and protect communities. (PRNewsfoto/AT&T Inc.)

AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Maryland’s public safety community at no cost to the state. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.

FirstNet will transform the way Maryland’s fire, police, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically, it will:

  • Connect first responder subscribers to the critical information they need in a highly secure manner when handling day-to-day operations, responding to emergencies and supporting large events like the Preakness.
  • Create an efficient communications experience for public safety personnel in agencies and jurisdictions across the state during natural disasters like 2016’s Winter Storm Jonas that brought record breaking snowfall and blizzard conditions to the state.
  • Increase public safety coverage across the state and region and connect public safety subscribers nationally, providing modern communications and data sharing, helping to increase the safety of first responders.
  • Enhance and expand network coverage across Maryland’s diverse landscape, to cover areas that are today underserved, benefitting first responders and residents throughout the state’s rural areas.
  • Provide first responders with access to dedicated network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support when needed.
  • Drive infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.
  • FirstNet and AT&T designed Maryland’s network solution with direct input from the state’s public safety community. FirstNet has been meeting with Maryland’s officials and public safety personnel for several years to address their unique communication needs. These include:
  • Expanding coverage across the state, particularly in the western and lower Eastern Shore.
  • Focusing on the state’s critical infrastructure in preparation for severe weather events.
  • Making solutions available to support the state’s large base of volunteer emergency responders.

The decision enables FirstNet and AT&T to begin creating an entirely new wireless ecosystem for public safety communications. Maryland’s first responder subscribers will have immediate access to quality of service and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.

The administration’s decision to opt-in will enable AT&T to buildout FirstNet in Maryland and begin planning and construction ahead of schedule. This will create a highly secure public safety network forMaryland’s first responder subscribers and provide priority use and preemption on this network.

Pre-emption for primary users over the AT&T LTE network is expected by year-end. This means fire, police, EMS and other public safety workers will have dedicated access to the network when and where they need it.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Chartered in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.

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