FirstNet expands communication  for Charles first responders

The water tower on Vera Davis Lane in Waldorf where the FirstNet cell site is being established.

Charles County first responders received a boost in wireless communication through the establishment of a FirstNet cell site, a public safety broadband network supporting first responders communication provided by AT&T Mid Atlantic.

The new site is located on a water tower off of Vera Davis Lane in Waldorf, according to Danial Langan of AT&T public affairs. The site uses Band 14 spectrum, a high-quality, nationwide spectrum set aside by the federal government specifically for FirstNet.

“I am appreciative of the FirstNet authority and AT&T for this critical infrastructure investment necessary to support our first responders and communities in Southern Maryland,” said Del. Edith Patterson (D-Charles). “This new site will also benefit businesses and families who now have more access to better mobile broadband services.”

The site is the latest to be established since Gov. Larry Hogan (R) opted into FirstNet in September 2017 to advance Maryland’s public safety broadband communications. The agreement was enacted so that first responders in the state would 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,” Hogan said in 2017. “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.”

AT&T established a public-private partnership with FirstNet to 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 drives innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.

FirstNet plans to transform the way fire, EMS and other public safety personnel communicate and share information. Specifically it is designed to 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.

FirstNet also is capable of expanding network coverage across the landscape of Maryland to cover areas that are underserved, benefitting first responders and residents throughout the state’s rural areas. It also provides first responders with access to network assets that can be deployed for additional coverage and support when needed.

FirstNet plans to drive additional infrastructure investments and create jobs across the state.

“Maryland’s first responders deserve fast, reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. With FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Denis Dunn, president of AT&T Maryland. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders – and residents — greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety, we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations.”

Tony Rose, deputy director of emergency services for Charles County, said that AT&T and FirstNet are addressing the problematic wireless coverage in the county through the building of this site.

“FirstNet is intended to bring public safety into the digital age,” Rose said. “If we are all on this network and something bad happens, if you are a public safety customer, you have priority on this network.”

Rose said the network sheds non-public safety users to make sure public safety users continue to maintain connectivity and sharing of data regardless of what is around them. He said the goal is to make sure 911 centers are equipped to handle the intake of information they get from the public and transfer it to first responders so they have better awareness of what they are getting ready to face.

“This is an effort that will never stop,” Rose said “They will continue to build towers for a while in order to build the coverage that public safety is going to require.”

Twitter: @RyanSoMdNews

Twitter: @RyanSoMdNews