By Edward (Ted) Dempsey
As most of my colleagues know I have been a huge fan of FirstNet and been on the train since the 90’s when we thought 150khz channels were huge!!! I often hear complaints about AT&T and/or FirstNet and Verizon as well. My answer is always the same. The carriers all have their issues and strongpoints. But when I hear that Verizon is competing with FirstNet I start to get crazy. FirstNet was born because public safety had been clamoring for a single ubiquitous network for years before 9/11. The attack was the catalyst that pushed FirstNet forward. We finally have FirstNet!!! No offense to Verizon, as I have worked with them for years, but public safety should be careful. FirstNet was conceived by public safety, backed by the feds (no comments from the peanut gallery) and created for public safety. FirstNet has 700MHz band 14 and has features that other providers cannot provide. FirstNet is a 25 year investment and is still growing.
Agencies need to carefully evaluate the pros and cons and then make a decision. But don’t rely on the sales folks from the carriers. Talk to the FirstNet authority, speak to other users that have successful deployments and then make a decision. Competition is healthy but it is not just about coverage. There are so many factors that influenced the development of FirstNet and these factors should not be ignored. I don’t want to make this post any longer so I’ll direct you the FirstNet.gov. Look at the board and the features, reach out to users and then make a decision. This is Part 1 of what I hope to be an ongoing stream of posts. I also welcome feedback, but real feedback with an explanation. Signing off for now. Please be safe out there.
Ted Dempsey is a retired lieutenant with NYPD and has work in the public safety technology arena for the last 20 years. This article first appeared on LinkedIn and is being reprinted with his permission.