In January of 2002, the FCC granted
the state of Maryland the license for a block of the 700MHz Band of frequencies
for public safety radio communication. This is the range of frequencies to be
used by the new First Responders Interoperable Radio System.
After reviewing the proposals received in response to the 2008 RFP, the contract
for a new Statewide 700 MHz Communications System is awarded to Motorola on
November 17, 2010 to begin the design and installation of the system.
The Statewide 700 MHz system, known as Maryland FiRST (First Responder
Interoperable Radio System Team) activated the radio master site in February, 14 months after giving notice to proceed to Motorola.
This is an important first step in turning on the 19 sites required for Region
Less than 6 months after Factory Staging of the first phase of the Maryland FiRST network, the Governor placed a ceremonial “First Call” involving State and County Agencies across the state.
On Tuesday, June 5th, Maryland FiRST leadership, along with more than 80 State Executives, representatives from the media, and various localities from across the state were with the Governor to make the call at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday June 5th, 2012 from the World Trade Center on East Pratt Street in Baltimore. Fittingly, the First Call was held in front of the 9/11 Memorial, with special homage paid to those First Responders that lost their lives in large part to a lack of interoperable communications.
The ceremonial first call connected the Governor to Maryland State Police at the JFK Highway Barrack in Cecil County, Maryland State Police Headquarters in Pikesville, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Kent County Emergency Communications Center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Watch video of the first call ceremony
In December of 2012, the Maryland Department of Transportation, Kent County Police, and Maryland State Police: JFK Barrack all successfully transitioned to the Maryland FiRST.
47 CFR §90.531(b)(7) RM-11433
Request for Waiver to permit operation of Air-to-Ground radio equipment on 700 MHz Secondary Trunking Channels -
Submitted February 24, 2012
In the development of Maryland FiRST, the State Police identified special communications requirements for air-to-ground frequencies that could work without causing interference to others. Maryland FiRST determined that there were no frequencies identified by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) dedicated to air-to-ground public safety radio communications. Through a search of all public safety radio channels, Maryland FiRST identified eight special frequencies that could be used for air-ground communications. Maryland gained the support of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, all of the neighboring states, and other nationwide organizations and filed a Petition for Waiver with the FCC to authorize special radio channels for State Police aircraft operations.
FCC Response to the State for 47 CFR §90.531(b)(7) ) RM-11433
Adopted: August 20, 2012
Upon review of the Petition for Waiver that was submitted by Maryland FiRST, the FCC issued a Waiver permitting the State Police to be the first agency in the United States authorized to operate on public safety frequencies dedicated for air-ground operations. In review of Maryland’s Waiver, several states asked the FCC to extend the use of the air-ground public safety frequencies on a nationwide basis. Following issuance of the Maryland waiver, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making seeking to expand the use of the special air-ground frequencies on a nationwide basis.
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