New Infrastructure Brings a Critical Upgrade to Public Safety, Improved Connectivity for Area Residents
BALTIMORE, Md., March 5, 2019 – Public safety communications in Baltimore County is getting a critical upgrade with the launch of a new, purpose-built cell site. The site – located on Hazelwood Avenue – is part of Maryland’s FirstNet build, which is bringing increased coverage and capacity to first responders across the state.
FirstNet is the nationwide, wireless communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community. Backed by Congress, it’s designed to modernize public safety communications, helping first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. FirstNet is being built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
To ensure AT&T is putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. Both Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and the FirstNet Authority joined AT&T this morning to unveil the new FirstNet cell site serving the Baltimore area.
Congressman Ruppersberger said, “I supported the legislation behind FirstNet, recognizing the need for and benefits of a dedicated, nationwide broadband network for public safety. And I’m pleased to see the early benefits that FirstNet is already bringing to Maryland’s first responders as it paves the way for new capabilities and innovations in the way public safety handles emergencies and serves our communities.
“The launch of this new cell site, with more planned across the state, reaffirms that the FirstNet Authority and AT&T remain steadfast in their mission to deliver a solution that meets public safety’s needs – today and for decades to come. It’s a win for everyone,” he added.
“I am pleased to see FirstNet staying true to its promise of expanding coverage in our area with this new site build,” said Bowley’s Quarters Volunteer Fire Department Captain Matt Fairley. “As a 4th-generation firefighter and 20-year veteran, this technology and service brings us to a whole new level of fire suppression and marine emergencies. Based near the Chesapeake Bay, we’ve been able to get reliable coverage on land and on the water where we’ve previously struggled. And as a 100% volunteer organization, knowing our members can easily subscribe to public safety’s network – it’s changing the game for us.”
This is the first new site to be publicly announced in Maryland following the state’s decision to advance its public safety broadband communications with FirstNet. The site was constructed using the FirstNet Band 14 spectrum as well as other spectrum bands in the AT&T portfolio.
Based in a high-traffic and highly populated area, public safety officials helped identify this site location as a place where increased network capacity was needed most to best support their mission. That’s why this critical infrastructure was built. Band 14 has also been added on existing sites across the entire Baltimore area.
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband network for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Maryland’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this cell site is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Baltimore County’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”
In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, the new site will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.
This cell site isn’t the only connectivity enhancement the area’s public safety community will have access to on FirstNet. A FirstNet Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT) will also be on display during today’s unveiling. This is a large, heavy-duty portable cell site that connects via satellite – not fiber.
It’s part of the nationwide fleet of 72 dedicated deployable network assets available to FirstNet subscribers at no additional charge. Public safety agencies on FirstNet can request the equipment for added support during planned events or emergencies, like the recent flooding emergencies in nearby Ellicott City as well as in Washington County. The deployable network asset kept FirstNet subscribers connected to the information they needed to make rescues, communicate and coordinate their storm response, and aid in recovery.
“Maryland’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Denis Dunn, president, 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.”
About the First Responder Network Authority
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) 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. Learn more at FirstNet.gov/mediakit and follow the FirstNet Authority (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
*About AT&T Communications
We help family, friends and neighbors connect in meaningful ways every day. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to mobile video streaming, we innovate to improve lives. We have the best network according to America’s biggest test.** We’re building FirstNet just for first responders and creating next-generation mobile 5G. With DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW, we deliver entertainment people love to talk about. Our smart, highly secure solutions serve over 3 million global businesses – nearly all of the Fortune 1000. And worldwide, our spirit of service drives employees to give back to their communities.
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**Based on GWS OneScore Sept. 2018. Excludes crowd sourced studies.
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To access B-roll footage of the event, click here.