NPSTC Leadership: Today, Verizon announced the availability of its dedicated Public Safety Private Network Core. This dedicated public safety core is the centerpiece of expanded products and services designed to enhance Verizon’s 4G LTE network for public safety’s use. A copy of today’s news release is attached.
I also wanted to take the time to address some issues that have been raised in previous NPSTC meetings regarding Verizon’s plans and its communications to public safety agencies and organizations. Some have criticized Verizon for its decision not to bid on the FirstNet RFP, its decision to provide a public safety network solution in competition with AT&T and/or the way it has communicated certain aspects of its plan. I fully understand why some may react in this way, and I want to address those issues directly.
First, on a personal note, I want to say how much I respect NPSTC, the various organizations that lead its efforts, and all those individuals that have dedicated their careers to protecting and serving the public. I have a special admiration and respect for those individuals that formed the Public Safety Alliance and led public safety’s efforts on Capitol Hill to establish FirstNet and get the spectrum and funding necessary to support a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). Most of these individuals continue to work in various capacities to help ensure that FirstNet succeeds. I was proud to be able to lead Verizon’s efforts in supporting public safety as it worked to create FirstNet, and it was a pleasure to work with and support such dedicated individuals.
I was also hopeful that Verizon would ultimately be directly involved in helping FirstNet build the NPSBN. While that did not happen, I don’t think that anyone familiar with Verizon’s position was surprised at the outcome. Verizon has a long history of serving first responders, and our commitment to continue to serve them has not waivered. We understand that first responders demand and expect a higher level of service for their communications, and our networks, our services, and our operational support are designed to meet those expectations. However, the business case for FirstNet’s RFP really hinged on the ability to commercialize the B14 spectrum while also serving public safety. Verizon has never been interested in commercializing the B14 spectrum, and we simply couldn’t make the business model work to support FirstNet’s preferred approach.
Verizon’s decision not to bid on the RFP, however, in no way diminishes our commitment to public safety, as evidenced by today’s announcement. Verizon intends to continue to make investments in our network and provide the products, services, and support that our public safety customers want. While the availability of public safety networks other than FirstNet’s may not be what some expected, I believe it will ultimately make public safety stronger. Competition has always been the key driver in advancing innovation and ensuring that customer needs and expectations are satisfied. The fact that the nation’s two largest communications companies are making substantial investments in public safety is a true testament to the accomplishments of FirstNet. While Verizon may not be FirstNet’s network partner, we remain committed to the FirstNet vision that public safety created more than a decade ago; a vision of effective, reliable, and interoperable communications whenever and wherever first responders need it. Verizon’s executive team and the thousands of Verizon personnel that support our first responder customers everyday stand ready to assist public safety in achieving this important goal.
Should you have any questions about today’s announcement, or any other aspect of Verizon’s commitment and service to public safety, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Don Brittingham, Vice President, Public Safety Policy, Verizon