Maryland first responders are getting a new wireless network - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Sep. 19, 2017 8:14 am

Maryland first responders are getting a new wireless network

The state is opting in to FirstNet, a nationwide LTE network that's designed to upgrade communications during emergencies. And, it's free.

FirstNet wants to expand tech access for first responders.

AT&T is set to build a new wireless network for police, firefighters and other first responders in the state.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that Maryland is opting in the FirstNet public safety broadband network to help emergency personnel communicate.

“Keeping Marylanders safe is our top priority, and our first responders need to be equipped with every tool possible to protect our citizens,” Hogan said in a statement. “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.”

That means AT&T will build and operate an LTE network to be used by first responders at no cost to the state. It’s part of a wider effort to build a new communications network across the country. FirstNet, which is a public-private partnership, presented states with plans to implement the network earlier this year. The state officials could choose to “opt in” or “opt out.”

Maryland, which is the 19th state to join, has been working with FirstNet since 2014. With input from first responders in the state, the plan was designed to expand coverage to rural areas such as those on the Eastern Shore, and ensure network coverage during severe weather and large events. The network will also provide links to first responders in other states.

Hogan added that the new network will “create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.”

It’s expected to be online by the end of 2017.

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