Cell Site Opens in Baltimore County for Public Safety

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Extending Communications Coverage

A new cell site has been added upon Hazelwood Avenue that will help to extend communications coverage during everyday needs, emergencies, or special events. The upgrade is part of FirstNet®, a public safety network being built out around the nation by AT&T®. Formed through a public-private deal, FirstNet® is designed to develop public safety communications. Maryland opted in the public safety network in 2017 to help first responders communicate.

The FirstNet® effort comprises deploying Band 14, the LTE spectrum that is exclusively set aside for first responders and public safety officials.

The cell sites in the US can help enhance connectivity for firefighters, police officers, and other first responders. In rural allocations, that might mean bridging the coverage gap. In more urban locations, that means upgrading capacity. Alongside the spectrum, they can also help enhance connectivity for any subscriber of the fastest internet provider in the area.

The President for AT&T® in Maryland, Denis Dunn, said, “We worked with local and state public safety officials in Maryland to help identify locations where increased network capacity was needed to best support our first responders, and to provide additional mobile broadband coverage for Marylanders.”

The county’s spot has become the first cell tower in the state that is publicly announced, and more cell sites are on the cards. The plan was to locate the site in a peak traffic location where it could serve public safety requirements in the best way.

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Legislation that formed FirstNet® was supported by the Congressman named C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. “I supported the legislation behind FirstNet®, recognizing the need for and benefits of a dedicated, nationwide broadband network for public safety,” said Ruppserberger, who opened the new site by cutting the ribbon. “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.”

Public safety officials present at the event brought out a SatCOLT (Satellite Cell upon Light Truck) as well. These big units upon wheels connect through satellite and function similar to mobile cell sites. SatCOLTs can be dispatched to big events to help offer communications channels in areas that are crowded, or they can be used to give communications at an area that is being hit by a natural calamity.

“Last year a vehicle like this one was dispatched to both Washington County and Ellicott City to help public safety respond to historic flooding,” Dunn said.

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