George Molnar, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, Nevada Div of Emergency Management

George Molnar, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, Nevada Div of Emergency Management

George Molnar, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, Nevada Div of Emergency Management is speaking in the Public Safety LTE track on Day Two of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we speak to him about some of the key issues surrounding LTE for Public Safety networks.

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

LTE enables us to focus more on the content of communications instead of the technology. By providing reliable and evolving capabilities, LTE enables public safety agencies to better serve their communities. By enabling more and better communications, we enhance responder safety and enable better decision making in the field.

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

LTE isn’t the final stage in communications technology evolution. The ability to provide robust data rates in high-noise situations, with congestion, and to distant users, is important. The ability to rapidly prioritise users and applications for life and property protection is a must. Bandwidth management will be increasingly critical as more demands are made on limited spectrum. Applications designers for public safety tout the amazing things their products can do; only with adequate bandwidth can this work. System designs will need to adapt to increasingly heavy continuous high bandwidth demands.

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.

Do you think it’s important that voice and data coverage as data?

Right now, no. We have extremely well-developed voice networks, and it may come to pass that we really don’t need to change them. Voice is an “application” that works differently than most others. In the drive to go IP, we should pause to consider what the best transport for voice is. Convergence may not be the best answer for a long time, if ever.

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

I believe the role of government should be limited. There is no one best fit for all jurisdictions and their diverse needs. It does make sense to establish a consensus standard about what this network will do, how it will be available, and what the rules of the road will be. When we talk about the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, I think it’s important to describe it like universal phone service, electricity, or water. There are many groups that cooperate to create a grid of services that reinforce each other and provide resiliency. We should focus, at the higher levels, on what needs to be common, and establishing policy that stimulates a strong, viable infrastructure. Leave the users at whatever level they most naturally organise to use their pragmatism to make the network work for them.

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

Without a doubt. The federal funds allocated for the network are very limited, and rely heavily on the outcome of a spectrum auction that may not yield the desired results. In many ways, there is already a nationwide network used by public safety, and it’s operated by wireless carriers with decades of experience. Since resources are so limited, it makes sense that partnerships for public safety will benefit participants on both sides, and especially the responders themselves. The unique needs of the public sector, when combined with this proven ability to provide services, should be the guiding principles of any development.

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

I predict that things will not go as smoothly, or quickly as we would hope. Starting with the very uncertain results of the broadcast spectrum auction – through which funds for the NPSBN will be generated – there is considerable scepticism in the community about whether or not the network rollout will take place as anticipated. We may see a longer roll out in the west compared to the coastal states. I also predict that bandwidth will become a major issue as users come on to the system with applications and uses not yet developed – or even imagined.

How important is the LTE North America conference to you as a platform?

It’s a great honour and opportunity to share the stage with so many great speakers, and to talk with the leaders and visionaries of a great industry. This conference is certainly one of the marquee events on my calendar!

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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