First responders in Cecil County, Maryland, are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of a new, purpose-built FirstNet cell site. This new infrastructure is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.
The new site in Earleville provides coverage along the Elk River. It will also serve White Crystal Beach, West View Shores, and Hack Point communities, as well as the Cecil County Public Works Department. This site was constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet.
"This is great news for Earleville, Cecil County and the surrounding areas. This new infrastructure will help advance public safety through our first responders and improve connectivity for area residents, businesses and visitors. It is essential we improve broadband and cellular service in Rural Maryland and throughout the Eastern Shore. I’m pleased to see this expansion of services take place," said Maryland State Senator Steve Hershey.
This is the latest new FirstNet site to be publicly announced in Maryland since Gov. Larry Hogan's decision to opt into FirstNet in September 2017, to advance public safety broadband communications in the state with FirstNet. AT&T* announced several new, purpose-built sites across Maryland in June 2020. And, a new site in Waldorf, Charles County, was announced today.
“Maryland’s first responders deserve fast, 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. Working with public safety we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations.”
FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It’s built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Maryland’s first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Plus, it’s giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.
Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Maryland we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. The FirstNet platform offers subscribers in Maryland these benefits and more:
Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.
Unparalleled emergency support – State and local agencies in Maryland on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.
Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies – We’ve also expanded the benefits of FirstNet for state and local agencies across Maryland – spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 9-1-1 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited plans.2 This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.
The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet. Where public safety goes, we go. We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.
“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Maryland’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Maryland’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, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses in the area of these new sites can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.