LAS VEGAS — A Verizon Communications, Inc., executive today touted his company’s public safety broadband offering, which is competing with the service being offered by AT&T, Inc., which is building the nationwide public safety broadband network for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).
During a session this afternoon at the APCO 2018 show here, Michael Maiorana, senior vice president–public sector for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, repeatedly suggested that Verizon offers the coverage, performance, reliability, and sustainability that the public safety community wants. He also touted Verizon’s historical dominant share of the public safety market and its decades in working with that sector.
“I am a promoter of FirstNet,” Mr. Maiorana said, adding that it “has helped raise the bar” on serving the public safety community.
“FirstNet is not a mandatory program. AT&T has to earn your business. Verizon has to earn your business,” he noted, adding that public safety would benefit with Verizon’s innovation and service and probably its superior pricing.
He also said Verizon has a 450,000-square-mile coverage advantage over the next carrier, adding of AT&T, “They’ll never catch up.”
“If you don’t have coverage, you’ve got a brick in your hand,” he said. “All of these innovation services are really only as good as the network they are on.”
Mr. Maiorana also noted that Verizon has pushed for his company to be permitted to be interoperable with AT&T’s FirstNet network, saying it is possible because both carriers have systems built on 3GPP standards, which he said is “a pathway to true interoperability.” That would allow subscribers to both carriers to communicate via push-to-talk (PTT) and to be recognized at the same priority levels. FirstNet and AT&T oppose allowing core-to-core interoperability.
“We are advocating for interoperability,” he said. “We’re not advocating for a piece of the FirstNet contract.”
He said that enabling interoperability will “allow our customers to decide which network … will serve them best.”
Mr. Maiorana cited Verizon’s private public safety core, its round-the-clock priority and preemption, its generator and battery backup “at the vast majority of our cell sites,” its “arsenal” of deployable assets, and its security operations.
He also said that Verizon plans to deploy mission-critical PTT by the end of this year and plans to launch soon a suite of public safety apps. By the end of this year, it also plans to launch “safe city” offerings of interest to public safety, he said.
He said that marketing campaigns, news releases, and “other flashy trade show displays – that doesn’t do it.”
“Our public sector business has grown” since FirstNet was announced, he added.
The executive also touched on Verizon’s 5G deployment plans and its portfolio of millimeter-wave band and 700 megahertz band spectrum, as well as its investment in fiber.
He also said he looks forward to continuing to compete with AT&T, saying that “as Verizon and AT&T go at it, the customer will benefit.” —Paul Kirby