Advocate Newsletter

While We Wait for FirstNet (A Different Take)

The Public Safety community wants to be more than simply customers on the FirstNet system. They want to be good partners as well. But in order to prepare for FirstNet they need some guidance and they need it soon. Many opportunities to ensure that new Public Safety LMR systems are “FirstNet-ready” will be lost unless this type of information is created and then disseminated in a timely fashion.

FirstNet Partnerships

The power co-ops would like wireless network access for their smart grid work, for smart meters, and of course, to sell fixed and/or mobile services to their rural customers. These power companies have feet on the street, trucks that service their rural customers, high-tension and other poles that could be used for cell sites, and right of ways that could be used for fiber backhaul or for microwave links. Rural operators want to provide LTE to their customers to be able to offer more of the latest and greatest wireless devices and nationwide roaming.

Why the Rush to Voice over LTE?

I would like to see everyone back off and wait until several things happen. First, let’s get the network in place for data and video services. Let’s see how much capacity is really needed by Public Safety, especially during incidents.

Public Safety Advocate Special Edition

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).

Building the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

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.

While We Wait for FirstNet

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 FirstNet Board of Directors

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.