Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 9, 2018

APCO and FirstNet.  The busiest booth at the APCO conference in Las Vegas was by far the FirstNet booth. There was plenty of great activity on the show floor, but the exhibit area was smaller than in previous years simply because APCO has changed over the 30-plus years I have been a member. It is now much more of a dispatch/PSAP-focused organization. To be sure, those who run and work in Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers are vital to the world of public safety, but APCO’s roots were broadly based on communications in the field, from the dispatch center out.

Both the exhibit floor and the comments I heard while walking it reflect this change. Yes, Motorola, Harris, JVCKenwood/EFJohnson, and Icom were still there with their booths and products but many of the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) vendor companies are no longer showing their wares at APCO. FirstNet and companies that are FirstNet partners were there in place of these vendors. In the FirstNet booth there were demonstrations from Sonim, Sierra Wireless, Cradlepoint, ESChat, RapidDeploy, and more. Time and time again those who were exhibiting told me they did not think anyone walking the floor had purchase decision-making authority.

Unlike in the past, there were only a few tower, antenna, and LMR-associated companies. Several times I was asked why the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the 911 organization, and APCO don’t simply merge and be done with it. APCO has changed and if it was not for FirstNet as a major sponsor, I am not sure the show could survive. The focus of APCO is now more dispatch and PSAP-oriented but I was not blown away by Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) vendors on the show floor either. NG911 is the next big thing to happen to public safety communications after FirstNet. In reality, the two should have been planned and executed together since both NG911 and FirstNet are based on broadband technologies. However, the feds only saw fit to dribble out a little funding to NG911 and many of the states are still skimming 911 revenue off for their own, non-911 use. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading

Correction: Verizon Fires Back at AT&T Criticism of Safety Offering

A story in August 8’s TR Daily misquoted Mike Maiorana, senior vice president–public sector for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, as saying that AT&T, Inc.’s public safety business has increased since it was awarded the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) contract. He said Verizon’s public safety business has increased since that time.

Courtesy TRDaily

Verizon Fires Back at AT&T Criticism of Public Safety Offering

LAS VEGAS — Verizon Communications, Inc., fired back today at AT&T, Inc.’s suggestion that Verizon was “misleading public safety” in its description of Verizon’s public safety broadband offering. Verizon also suggested that AT&T is being “inconsistent” because it criticizes Verizon’s virtual public safety core while touting the benefits of virtual network functions elsewhere.

During an interview with TR Daily this morning at the APCO 2018 show here, Mike Maiorana, senior vice president–public sector for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, responded to comments that an AT&T executive made in an interview with TR Daily earlier this week.

During the earlier interview, Chris Sambar, SVP-FirstNet for AT&T, which is the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, suggested that there are “inconsistencies” concerning how Verizon sells its public safety offering, for which it has built a virtual public safety core (TR Daily, Aug. 7).

“Verizon is purposely obfuscating the difference between a virtual and a dedicated core,” he said. He said that while AT&T offers “always-on preemption,” public safety entities have told AT&T that Verizon has said its preemption involves wireless priority service (WPS), which is a voice offering, and at times has said preemption is offered today while other times has said it would be offered later this year.

“I don’t understand why they are misleading public safety,” Mr. Sambar added. “We’re being very clear about what we’re offering.”

“I think it’s disappointing that AT&T needs to disparage Verizon’s messaging in the marketplace and question our integrity in how we serve our customers,” Mr. Maiorana said today. “This is a segment that builds trust and buys services based on long-standing performance. It’s not a customer segment that buys on promises of the future or marketing rhetoric. So we have a long-standing history at Verizon of leading in this customer segment.” Continue reading

Verizon Executive Touts Offering, Takes Shot at AT&T

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. Continue reading

AT&T FirstNet Exec Criticizes Verizon, State Contract Delays

LAS VEGAS – The AT&T, Inc., executive in charge of building out a nationwide public safety broadband network for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) said that Verizon Communications, Inc., is “misleading public safety” in the way it describes its public safety broadband offering and criticized some states that haven’t agreed to complete contract vehicles for purchasing FirstNet service.

During an interview with TR Daily late afternoon in conjunction with the APCO 2018 show here, Chris Sambar, AT&T’s senior vice president-FirstNet, suggested that there are “inconsistences” concerning how Verizon sells its public safety offering, for which it has built a virtual public safety core.

“Verizon is purposely obfuscating the difference between a virtual and a dedicated core,” he said. He said that while AT&T offers “always-on preemption,” public safety entities have told AT&T that Verizon has said its preemption involves wireless priority service (WPS), which is a voice offering, and at times has said preemption is offered today while other times has said it would be offered later this year.

“I don’t understand why they are misleading public safety,” Mr. Sambar added. “We’re being very clear about what we’re offering.”

In response to Mr. Sambar’s comment, Verizon spokesperson Najuma Thorpe said today, “Verizon has earned the trust of public safety organizations by providing industry leading network reliability and mission-critical responses to help agencies deliver when it matters most. Verizon’s Public Safety Private Core is part of its leading 4G LTE network that intelligently manages traffic between commercial and public safety customers. Verizon also provides always-on priority and preemption services to first responders, and that is currently available today. Whether our first responders have a smartphone, or data only device, they can get access to these services from Verizon.”  Continue reading

AT&T Pleased with Withdrawal of Colorado Interoperability Plea

AT&T, Inc., said today it is pleased that the state of Colorado recently withdrew a request for the FCC to clarify guidelines and requirements concerning interoperability and roaming between the nationwide public safety broadband network being built by AT&T, Inc., for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and wireless carriers (TR Daily, July 16).

In a blog posting today, Joan Marsh, executive vice president-regulatory & state external affairs for AT&T, said the interoperability and roaming issues “have been clearly addressed. But as FirstNet builds momentum, it may be worth remembering Congress’ vision for our nation’s first dedicated public safety network.”

“Public safety urged the creation of a single, dedicated network after emergencies such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the existing patchwork public safety communications network was inadequate. Congress responded by creating FirstNet, which would be built with a ‘single, national network architecture’ consisting of a ‘core network’ and a ‘radio access network.’ This network design was deliberate, ensuring reliable, secure communications for first responders across agencies and jurisdictions, while also allowing first responders to reach any caller anywhere,” Ms. Marsh said. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 2, 2018

FirstNet and Video Surveillance.  Many of my Public Safety Advocates start out when I am asked a question that gets me thinking. This Advocate began when a good friend of mine who owns a company that specializes in all sorts of surveillance and stakeout communications equipment called to ask if FirstNet would permit agencies to use fixed surveillance cameras over the FirstNet network. His question was prompted by one of his customers who was using hidden video cameras disguised as items you would normally see on a street. I do not have an official reply to the question but the issue certainly needs to be explored and carefully examined.

These High Definition (HD) cameras, which use a lot of bandwidth, are being used on both Verizon and AT&T LTE commercial networks and while they are used only on-demand, they are still fixed and in operation for four to six hours at a time. This agency has experienced its video streams being reduced to slower speeds after only an hour or two. The agency wants to move these devices to FirstNet but needs to know if FirstNet would accept them being on the air from fixed locations. I have sent this query up to the FirstNet folks but have not yet heard back. I suspect the answer will be the same as on the commercial networks because the cameras are at fixed locations.

FirstNet was designed to provide data and video services to public safety and it has always been part of the plan to enable video feeds to and from incidents while they are happening. However, fixed HD video is another story and could prove political for FirstNet even with all the AT&T spectrum available to FirstNet users. Video is used during incidents. Dash and body cams generally record video and only send it out on a broadband network during an incident where it is important for others to observe in real time. Most fixed cameras in cities and elsewhere are connected via fiber or, in some cases, wirelessly using 4.9-GHz spectrum. At the moment, this spectrum is available only to public safety but if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has its way, it may end up as shared spectrum.

Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading