The NPSBN is the most ambitious nationwide network ever undertaken in the United States and it is different from the public commercial networks in many aspects. First and foremost, it must provide the capabilities needed by the Public Safety community, and it must be more reliable.
This morning, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) published a document intended for distribution to any and all elected federal, state, and local elected officials. This document states clearly and in plain language why Public Safety Land Mobile Radio (LMR) voice systems MUST be maintained even though FirstNet is building out a new Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).
My advice for the technologists is to continue the good work they are doing but to tone down their technology assessments and predictions with the reality of the time involved and all of the processes and issues that must be addressed and solved, assuming they can be solved. Until then, the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network will remain about data and video, while today’s Land Mobile Radio networks are about mission-critical voice. Both networks will be needed for a very long time to come.
Public Safety, on the other hand, will most likely turn this model around. That is, there will be more data, video, and information sent from the devices back to command centers, Incident Commanders, and others while the amount of data and video sent to the devices will be less, and less often.
In this, the first of a multi-part series, I will attempt to outline what I believe are the steps that need to be taken to move forward with this network—a network that will both serve the Public Safety community for many years, and that will live up to the Public Safety community’s expectations.
Next to FirstNet and Public Safety. No matter what we do, the FirstNet network will resemble a commercial cellular-type network because it IS a cellular-type network. There will be too many sites, each with multiple points of failure.
The Politics and the Technology As the FirstNet board addresses the architecture for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network using LTE (Long Term Evolution), one of the…
Don’t rely on it, but try it. Learn what broadband can and cannot do. Broadband should be looked upon as a new tool to make first responders safer, to assist the citizens better and faster, and to cut down on the voice traffic on your network.
The people needed for the CEO, COO, CTO, and CFO-type of positions reporting to the FirstNet board need to be high-level, skilled people who have been involved in planning and setting up a broadband network and handling the finances, technology, and operational aspects of such a system.
I think this is also important for the Public Safety Community since these auctions will provide most of the $7 billion in funding for the Public Safety Broadband Network.
This network needs to be built and used by all first responders in order to provide the maximum benefit to the Public Safety community.
This means that all of the work that has been done by and on behalf of Public Safety over the last five years has been rewarded with the spectrum, the funding needed to start building out the nationwide network, and funding to provide for governance of the network.
If you are interested in finding out more about Public Safety Broadband and LTE, this is the event to attend.
As we begin 2012, an election year, the Public Safety community remains solidified in its desire for the proper legislation to be passed. The issue of the reallocation of the D Block to Public Safety has now been addressed by both Houses of Congress and by both parties within both houses. However, there still remain some differences between what the Senate has proposed in S911 and what the House majority leadership is promoting.
This requirement that is contained in the bill presently in the House would, in reality, cripple the Public Safety community and negate all of the progress that has been made toward interoperable voice communications over the past ten years