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DoIT Initiatives

Maryland FIRST

FirstNet

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 What is FirstNet?

​FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Authorized by Congress in 2012, its mission to develop, build, and operate the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities.
 
In early September 2017, Governor Hogan decided to opt-in early. This decision enabled Maryland first responders to get immediate access to prioritization (instead of waiting until January 2018) and will begin planning and construction of Radio Access Network (RAN) ahead of schedule. Preemption will be available by the end of 2017. 
 

Governor Larry Hogan Approves FirstNet Communications Plan for First ​Responders​

​​- September 18, 2017​​


What is FirstNet?

 
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FirstNet’s goal is to provide public safety‐grade reliability and nationwide coverage so all public safety personnel can count on the network when they are on the job. FirstNet will create a nationwide standard of service while affording localized customization and control. When the FirstNet network launches, it will provide mission‐critical, high‐speed data services to supplement the voice capabilities of today’s Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. Initially, the FirstNet network will be used for sending data, video, images and text. The FirstNet network will also carry location information and eventually support streaming video. 
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Who uses FirstNet?

 
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The potential public safety user community in Maryland and nationwide:
  • ​Law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, E911, Emergency Management
  • Federal, state, county, regional and tribal public safety agencies
  • Coast Guard, National Guard and FEMA
  • Hospitals, LifeFlight, ambulatory contracted services
  • Red Cross and Salvation Army​
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What are Deployables?

 
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Mobile cell sites or deployables are infrastructures transportable on trucks, allowing fast and easy installation in restricted spaces. The use of deployable systems in public safety operations can help provide first responders with critical communications in areas that do not have sufficient coverage. FirstNet will procure, deploy, and maintain a nationwide fleet of mobile communication systems to provide temporary coverage in areas not covered by existing, usable infrastructure. Generally, these units would be deployed at times of an incident to the affected area. These mobile communication units would be temporarily installed and may use existing satellite, microwave, or radio systems for backhaul.

Will the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) replace my public safety mobile radio (LMR) system?

 
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No. While there will be voice communication capability (cell phone) with the NPSBN when it is introduced, it will not be public safety communications "mission critical" quality. Mission-critical communications include capabilities such as point to multi-point communication, and device-to-device direct communication when not connected to a network. These capabilities are not part of the selected long term evolution (LTE) technology platform. It is not anticipated that the network will have mission-critical communications capabilities for the foreseeable future, existing public safety LMR systems must continue to be maintained. The NPSBN will supplement LMR communications for access to mission-critical data.

Who will build the FirstNet network and when will it be available?

 
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FirstNet will build the nationwide distributed network core and the radio access network (RAN) for the opt-in state​s like Maryland. Opt-out states will be responsible for finding a partner to the (RAN) in their state and interconnect with the network core. The (RAN) portion of the network – consisting of all of the communication sites (towers) and the radio and data transportation components associated with them – will either be built by FirstNet/AT&T or the state. In Maryland, the Governor’s opt-in decision means that the (RAN) will be built by FirstNet/AT&T.

Will I have to use the FirstNet network?

 
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No. There is absolutely no mandate for any agency to adopt and utilize the FirstNet network.

Who will be responsible for operating and managing the FirstNet network in my city or county?

 
FirstNet will build the nationwide distributed network core and the radio access network (RAN) for the opt-in state​s like Maryland. Opt-out states will be responsible for finding a partner to the (RAN) in their state and interconnect with the network core. The (RAN) portion of the network – consisting of all of the communication sites (towers) and the radio and data transportation components associated with them – will either be built by FirstNet/AT&T or the state. In Maryland, the Governor’s opt-in decision means that the (RAN) will be built by FirstNet/AT&T.​

How do I buy FirstNet services in Maryland?

 
Click on this link to review contract information.