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New broadband network for Mississippi's first responders

New broadband network for Mississippi's first responders
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University of Mississippi Medical Center
AP Photo

First responders are hoping a new federal program will offer them better broadband service while handling their day-to-day operations. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

First Responder Network Authority and AT&T are building a wireless broadband communications network for Mississippi's public safety community, at no cost to the state. The national program will create an entire broadband network to better help agencies communicate and use modern technology.

Charles Murph is with the First Responder Network Authority.

"First responders need to be able to get that situational awareness to EMS as they respond to get patients from the scene to the hospital. And then the hospital doctors there have the ability to actually be in the back of that ambulance through that LTE network and look at the patient as the paramedics are treating them," said Murph.

Governor Phil Bryant says in a statement, the network will provide first responders with the tools they need to keep Mississippians safe. He hopes it will particularly impact rural areas.

Chief John Pope is president of the Mississippi Firefighter's Association. He says responders have had the most difficulty in rural areas, including Collins where he is fire chief.

"For the majority of our area in the state, it is rural in nature. That means communications is critical to be able to get the data and information that you need in emergencies and also when you're calling on other for assistance," said Pope.

AT&T will build Mississippi's network over the next five years.