Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 19, 2018

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Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 12, 2018

Batteries in the Field:  When we add smartphones and tablets to the mix of public safety communications devices we are adding yet another set of devices that run on batteries that need to be recharged. While there are a number of companies working on charging these devices from the radio energy that is transmitted from a cell site, which could make recharging a non-issue, that appears, once again, to be well into the future. In the meantime, how are these devices to be charged along with the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) handheld radios?

Comparing LMR to LTE Devices:  LMR devices are generally designed for battery life of over a shift, which is ten hours or so. But this is with a duty cycle that is generally light. The norm is 80-percent standby (lowest power requirement) to 10-percent receive (mid-power requirement) and 10-percent transmit (highest power usage). The batteries for LMR radios are removable and replaceable and can be run through a “fast charge” system to replenish them in short order. There are also what are known as “clam-shell” battery cases that are designed to be used with disposable batteries, usually a number of AA cells. During major wildland fires when the forest services issue their cache of radios, they are mostly powered by throw-away cells. The batteries used in LMR radios are usually on the bottom of the radio, are easy to take off, and have a lot more battery capacity than batteries that are not removable.

There are a number of different scenarios for LMR radio distribution. In police departments, most LMR handhelds are staged in gang chargers and as patrol officers exit the station for a shift they will grab a radio and sometimes a spare battery for use on their shift and then replace the units in the charger at the end of their shift. In the fire service, since there are normally four assigned to an engine, radios are sometimes in chargers near one of the engine’s rear doors and are picked up as needed when arriving on a scene. Most EMS personnel have radios issued to them at the start of each shift. Of course, there are many variations of this including some departments where the LMR handheld is the only radio each person carries. Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, April 5, 2018

For the past two weeks I have been sidelined with a nasty infection I appear to have brought home as a souvenir from IWCE in Orlando. Many important things happened during this time so this week I will recap some of them and attempt to catch up. Some of the news has to do with the fact that FirstNet completed its Evolved Packet Core (EPC) for use by only the first responder community, Verizon says its core is up and running and the FirstNet core is “vaporware,” the FirstNet Authority tasked FirstNet to build out public safety band 14, AT&T has stated that the FirstNet network build-out will happen a lot quicker than five years, and much more.

FirstNet Core:  Let’s start with the FirstNet core. The core of an LTE network is the brains of the network. AT&T has been offering up all of its LTE spectrum with full priority and pre-emption for public safety and now the redundant brain of the network is also up and running. This means several important things. First, the public safety network is really end-to-end and available for public safety only, and the core is hardened and separate from AT&T’s customer core, ensuring Public safety traffic will remain separate and apart on the overall AT&T LTE network and band 14 (the FirstNet spectrum). The core is the final step in the end-to-end encrypted LTE network. Because public safety devices have their own SIM identification number, they are instantly identified as members of a network riding on a network. Public safety users, while on the same LTE spectrum AT&T is using for its commercial users, are segmented so public safety users have priority, better data encryption, and access to the public safety core. Even when AT&T’s secondary (commercial) users are sharing bandwidth they have no access to the FirstNet core or any way to intermingle with FirstNet users.
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NTIA Revamps BroadbandUSA Website

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration today launched its revamped BroadbandUSA website, broadbandusa.ntia.doc.gov. “Working through the Broadband Interagency Working Group, NTIA created the site to enable federal agencies that support broadband connectivity and digital inclusion to publicize resources through a one-stop online portal,” it said.

“The site is intended to help communities and their private local exchange carrier and Internet service provider partners find resources and funding to support their local broadband efforts by providing information on federal resources, with links to federal grant programs that may fund broadband deployment and adoption projects. The online portal supplements ongoing BroadbandUSA work to help local and state governments, industry and nonprofits obtain the tools they need to expand broadband connectivity and promote digital inclusion.”

Courtesy TRDaily

Open Letter from Verizon on Its New Public Safety Private Network Core

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.

Respectfully,

Don Brittingham, Vice President, Public Safety Policy, Verizon

 

 

FirstNet Announcement to PSAC: AT&T Delivers FirstNet Core to First Responder Network Authority

Dear PSAC members,

I’m excited to share that AT&T has delivered the FirstNet core to the First Responder Network Authority, a major step in providing the secure, dedicated network that public safety has long fought for and needs to carry out its vital mission.

As Jeff Bratcher explains in our announcement blog, the FirstNet core is the first-ever and the only dedicated core network infrastructure built specifically for our nation’s first responders. The core is the brain and nervous system of the FirstNet network, and dedicated entirely and only to public safety traffic. It supports current FirstNet functions, like priority and preemption, and will also support future mission-critical services to be offered by FirstNet, like push-to-talk and location based services.

The power of the Core

The FirstNet core will deliver the advanced functions public safety has been waiting for, including:

  • End-to-end encryption, so public safety can transmit data securely.
  • 24/7/365 security monitoring through a Security Operations Center staffed with a FirstNet-dedicated team
  • Superior reliability and availability, so the network is as dependable as first responders themselves
  • Local control, enabling local leaders to boost priority levels when needed to keep their first responders connected when it matters most
  • Mission-critical functions, making a range of next-gen, open-standards-based technologies available to public safety in the future, such as mission-critical push-to-talk, enhanced location-based services and more

The Core’s next steps

Because we must provide a public-safety-ready network, the First Responder Network Authority is going to take the core through validation and testing exercises to check the functionality of public safety-specific features, measure redundancy under a range of conditions, and validate its overall performance and resiliency. While we’re in the validation and testing phase, select FirstNet users will be able to move to the core as part of a controlled introduction by AT&T. Once we finish the validation and testing – which we expect to have done in the April/May timeframe – AT&T will move more FirstNet users to the core.

It is absolutely amazing that the FirstNet core is here only one short year – almost to the day – after the First Responder Network Authority announced our partnership with AT&T. Through our work together, we are building the future of public safety communications, and providing our nation’s first responders the lifesaving tools they need to respond every day and in every emergency.

Mike Poth
Chief Executive Officer

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, March 15, 2018

Public Safety Advocate: T-Band, IWCE, FirstNet

T-Band Call to Action: The T-Band (470-512 MHz) is spectrum used by both the public safety community and business users in 11 metro areas of the United States. When the bill creating FirstNet was passed in 2012, Congress required public safety to “give back” some spectrum in exchange for the 10 MHz of spectrum then known as the D-block adjacent to the 700-MHz spectrum that had been reallocated from wideband (50-KHz) channels. This was to enable public safety to deploy its own nationwide public safety broadband network. Congress decided the T-band would be a perfect giveback since it would be auctioned, once returned, for millions of dollars. Since the bill was passed, the major cities and surrounding areas that make use of this spectrum have been unable to find either the spectrum or the funding to relocate, in a timely fashion, their many radio networks that call this spectrum home. See the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) T-Band report…

IWCE 2018: For the first time in a very long time, IWCE was not held in Las Vegas, but Orlando, which is also a great convention city. However, when you weigh in spring break visitors and flights in and out of the area it can be tricky to plan what you want, and even the TSA pre-check lanes were experiencing long delays processing travelers. Even so, the conference itself was top notch. Perhaps it was because this was the first full IWCE after FirstNet the Authority awarded the contract to AT&T. The mood was upbeat, the sessions I attended and those I was part of all had good crowds, and this year it seems many more people were asking questions after the panels and/or offering up their advice. I always enjoy it when those in the audience ask questions so we can learn about their concerns…

FirstNet:  FirstNet was an even more integral part of IWCE this year. There were keynotes, sessions, and more directly related to FirstNet. It was announced at IWCE that FirstNet, the Authority, had given a task order to FirstNet built with AT&T to start the band 14 (FirstNet) spectrum build-out. Task orders for various aspects of the network build-out, operation, training, and more are released by FirstNet the Authority based on milestones reached by FirstNet. So far, FirstNet is running well ahead of what anyone would have guessed because AT&T included not only band 14 but all of its own LTE and upcoming 5G spectrum and deployments… Read the Entire Post Here

MissionCritical Mar  9 10:13

AT&T signed a new task order with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) for building out 700 MHz band 14 in all 56 states and territories. AT&T executives said the carrier has already begun buildout in most states, but the new task order formalizes the next step in AT&T’s year-old agreement with FirstNet to build a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN). read more

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