Net­work growth gives 911 ser­vices con­nec­tiv­ity boost

Sunday Star - - LOCAL -

EAS­TON — Tal­bot County’s 911 ser vices just got a con­nec­tiv­ity boost with the ex­pan­sion of its ex­ist­ing fiber net­work, mean­ing more con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween first re­spon­ders and emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel in the more ru­ral ar­eas of the county.

“Be­cause our re­gion was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­con­sis­tent ra­dio re­cep­tion and a vol­ume of more than 55,000 first re­spon­der calls an­nu­ally, we re­quired a re­li­able re­dun­dant net­work,” Tal­bot County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices Act­ing Direc­tor Brian LeCates said.

At­lantic Broad­band, the na­tion’s ninth largest ca­ble provider, an­nounced the in­stal­la­tion of 16 miles of fiber net­work be­tween the Tal­bot County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser vices and the county’s en­hanced 911 tower on Tues­day, July 25. It was the re­sult of a part­ner­ship be­tween At­lantic Broad­band, the Mary­land Broad­band Co­op­er­a­tive, Eas­ton Util­i­ties and Tal­bot DES.

The goal was to cre­ate a di­rect con­nec­tion for a faster, more ac­ces­si­ble and re­li­able 911 service for the Tal­bot County com­mu­nity and cover a 16-mile gap in con­nec­tiv­ity in the Bay Hundred area of the county.

The in­stal­la­tion was com­pleted in less than a month at the re­quest of Tal­bot County, as part of its ini­tia­tive to build out its ra­dio sys­tem to en­sure bet­ter re­cep­tion, con­nec­tiv­ity and a wider cov­er­age area.

“Due to the tower’s re­mote lo­ca­tion, cross-or­ga­ni­za­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion was crit­i­cal, and it could not have been com­pleted with­out the Mar yland Broad­band Co­op­er­a­tive and Eas­ton Util­i­ties,” At­lantic Broad­band’s Mary­land/Delaware Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager Scott Ran­dall said. “We were able to quickly and ef­fi­ciently solve a prob­lem, and as a re­sult, the county’s emer­gency ser­vices are more ac­ces­si­ble to the com­mu­nity.”

Ac­cord­ing to Eas­ton Util­i­ties, the in­ter­con­nec­tion is lo­cated in Eas­ton Ve­loc­ity’s head­end fa­cil­ity on Bay Street, a master fa­cil­ity for re­ceiv­ing tele­vi­sion sig­nals for pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion over the sys­tem. Eas­ton Ve­loc­ity has been pro­vid­ing in­ter­net to the county since 2008 and fiber op­tic con­nec­tiv­ity since 2014.

“This col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ship has af­forded the abil­ity to connect the fiber and pro­vide a so­lu­tion to an im­por­tant service for our com­mu­nity,” Eas­ton Util­i­ties’ Direc­tor of Ca­ble and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Ted Book said.

Eas­ton Util­i­ties con­nects mul­ti­ple fiber op­tic sites for Tal­bot DES, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

Tal­bot County is part of the Mary­land FIRST (First Re­spon­ders In­ter­op­er­a­ble Ra­dio Sys­tem Team), which con­nects the county’s po­lice, fire­fight­ers and emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices, and emer­gency man­age­ment per­son­nel to other first re­spon­ders.

LeCates said be­ing part of Mary­land FIRST pro­vides the county with a dig­i­tal and se­cure ra­dio sys­tem for emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions across agen­cies.

“The in­stal­la­tion’s en­hanced ser­vices are sig­nif­i­cant for the county and over­all com­mu­nity, and it will have last­ing ben­e­fits,” LeCates said.

PHOTO BY CHRIS POLK

Dis­patcher Robin Hooper talks to fire and emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel while on duty at the newly re­mod­eled Tal­bot 911 cen­ter in March. Tal­bot County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices got a con­nec­tiv­ity boost recently after the in­stal­la­tion of 16 miles of fiber net­work.

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