Mike Barney, Chief Engineer, LTE, Texas Department of Public Safety

Mike Barney, Chief Engineer, LTE, Texas Department of Public Safety

Mike Barney, Chief Engineer, LTE, Texas Department of Public Safety and Karla Jurrens, Special Project Manager, Texas Department of Public Safety are speaking on “A Discussion on the Differences between Public Safety and Carrier Broadband Networks & Opportunities”, on Day Two of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA.

What are the key benefits you feel LTE brings to public safety networks?

There are several benefits that will be critical to public safety.  They include:

  • Ubiquitous operability and interoperability
  • Network Resiliency
  • Priority
  • Security

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

Are there still limitations with LTE technology that will need to be overcome in terms of providing mission-critical voice and data?

LTE has many promising capabilities, and has built the foundation to morph into a strong public safety communications asset. The 3GPP committee is considering adding specific features for public safety, such as “Direct Mode”. We may not see this for several years in actual equipment, but it will come.  Another consideration is higher powered mode, enabling allowing user devices the ability to reach out farther than current limitations.

Current capabilities provided by Land Mobile Radio (LMR) will be around a long time and will continue to provide services for decades. In many areas of Texas and other states, there are vast expanses that will be difficult and expensive to provide ubiquitous mission critical voice coverage using LTE.

What do you feel is the optimal governance structure for public safety network rollout? Is local, regional, state or national level best?

Each state and territory has unique governance requirements and will have to tailor their needs for public safety broadband to those requirements.

Are public-private partnerships (PPPs) going to be critical to public safety network success?

Absolutely they will. PPPs will extend the viability of FirstNet through cost sharing. This could provide coverage where it may not be financially or otherwise feasible. There are many rural areas in Texas and other states and territories where broadband is not available to citizens, medical facilities or even public safety. By piggybacking on the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) with a PPP, we could extend broadband to areas that are underserved or not served at all.

Will public safety networks be able to be price-competitive with national carriers?

They have to be price and feature competitive to move users to FirstNet. One major advantage of FirstNet will be “always there” communications. During a large incident, this critical capability is often lacking.

What are your predictions on network rollout over the next few years?

We predict progress and success for public safety LTE rollouts. Now that FirstNet has issued a request for information (RFI), signed spectrum management lease agreements with several jurisdictions, started hiring staff and is about to release a request for proposal (RFP), we expect progress will accelerate and that success will be imminent.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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