Maryland Opts-in to National Public Safety Network, Counties to Help Identify Priorities

Maryland’s Governor Hogan has opted-in to FirstNet, becoming the 19th state to join, and setting the stage for quick ramp-up of public safety broadband service within the State.

 

FirstNet

From FirstNet.gov:

Governor Larry Hogan today announced Maryland 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.

“Keeping Marylanders safe is our top priority, and our first responders need to be equipped with every tool possible to protect our citizens,” said Governor Hogan. “By adopting this plan, our first responders will now have the ability to efficiently and effectively work together not just within the state, but across the region and at the national level.”

“This innovative initiative will also spur investment into Maryland’s economy, helping to create jobs and enhance mobile broadband coverage in rural parts of the state,” the governor continued.

 

Major Ken Hasenei, Maryland’s State Interoperability Director reached out to state and county public safety partners following the announcement. From Major Hasenei:

Governor Hogan opted in early into FirstNet today.  As a result, Maryland public safety agencies will receive additional tower sites. You will be a part of identifying gaps in coverage and helping to determine the location of these towers for the calls for service and incidents that you handle.

Maryland held one of the initial consultations with the FirstNet team (see: Maryland Seeks to be First in FirstNet Public Safety Broadband), and, according to FirstNet.gov:

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 voice and priority to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network. 

 

As described by Governing magazine, the strength of the FirstNet program depends in part on cooperation among states,

If a few states opt out, no big deal. But if more than a handful do, it could impact the network’s business plan. Building and running a nationwide, cutting-edge voice and data network requires nearly all of the country’s 5.4 million first responders to subscribe to it — not just to cover the operational costs, but also to generate enough revenue for further expansion into remote locations and for future technology upgrades.

For more information, see As a 9/11-Inspired Emergency Network Nears, Some States May Go Rogue from Governing and What Counties Need to Know About FirstNet from NACo.

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