Maryland FirstNet Interoperability Outreach and Planning

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On July 29, 2014, representatives of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) visited Maryland’s capital to discuss the first-ever Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). Participants included Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland cabinet officials, and a team of Maryland first responders. Five CHHS staffers who support Maryland’s Statewide Interoperability Office were also active participants in the meeting. CHHS staffers have been credited with assisting Maryland in its national leadership role for FirstNet outreach.

Once deployed nationally, this broadband network will give first responders throughout the U.S. the power to share critical data and information, making emergency management safer and more efficient. As an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, FirstNet was established by Congress in 2012 to build, implement, and oversee the NPSBN.

While several states submitted consultation checklists to FirstNet earlier this year, Maryland was chosen for this first consultation due to solid interoperability practices already in place in Maryland. Our Center first contributed to the state’s success through the development of the 2008 Executive Order that established Maryland’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee and Program Management Office. Additionally, CHHS interoperability experts laid the groundwork for an official governance body to oversee Maryland’s statewide radio communication system, known as Maryland FiRST, through outreach and policy recommendations. CHHS then supported legislation to formalize the Radio Control Board, which passed during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session.

As part of the current effort, Senior Law and Policy Analysts Lori Romer Stone and Christopher Webster, and Law and Policy Analysts Max Romanik, Ben Yelin, and Rachael Almaraz make up the MDInterop Team, preparing Maryland for FirstNet. They have spent the past year collecting input from 1,200+ first responders and public safety leaders to ensure Maryland was ready for its initial consultation with FirstNet. CHHS will also continue to support the state’s efforts through planning and implementation of the NPSBN in the years to come.

This text is taken from the CHHS Fall 2014 Newsletter

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