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Interoperability Will Work For Public Safety

Author: Mike Maiorana, Verizon

Date: 2017-09-29
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Originally published on linked-in on September 28, 2017, reprinted by permission.

When first responders answer the call for an emergency, whether it’s a traffic accident or a structure fire, or a larger event such as a hurricane or wildfire, secure, reliable communications are a necessity. Effective emergency response requires teamwork and coordination. It doesn’t matter who their provider is, the networks our first responders use just need to work!

As the states and public safety agencies nationwide weigh their communications network options, it’s important they know the facts about the choices available to them so they can make informed decisions.

Verizon’s planned dedicated public safety network will complement the proposed FirstNet network and provide a robust communications solution for first responders across the country. It will also ensure they continue to have the right to choose their communications provider and to benefit from the continued innovation that comes from a competitive marketplace.

Central to delivering on that promise is providing public safety with communications networks that are interoperable and secure.

Network interoperability is not a new or particularly difficult concept. Competing networks talk to each other and share vital data effectively and securely every day. Verizon already works with other carriers, including AT&T, to provide interoperable services across networks, with both carriers managing the security of the traffic back and forth.

Our planned public safety network will consist of a dedicated public safety network core operating in parallel to our commercial core – similar to AT&T’s planned FirstNet solution. Under our proposed solution, our core and AT&T’s core would not connect. Instead, both companies would provide transport services that deliver traffic to FirstNet’s data centers via IP backhaul. In addition to everyday voice and data services, first responders would also have access to FirstNet applications on both networks, as well as a second network to fall back on. Having two networks will provide unrivalled nationwide coverage, redundancy and reliability.

Security will be cared for as well. Verizon provides a secure 4G LTE solution today to millions of public sector users nationwide – police officers, firefighters, EMTs and others have transmitted information safely and securely over our network for years. Our planned public safety network solution will provide that same level of security. Enabling access through two different dedicated public safety cores will in no way degrade the security of the solution.

Providing multiple transport options at the application level – voice, video and PTT services, data applications, etc. – also does not inherently introduce security issues. Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon provide seamless customer experiences regardless of broadband access type or provider. We will do the same.

Networks working together to transmit voice calls and data is nothing new. Nor is building in multiple levels of security processes. Supporting public safety and providing reliable communications is critical to the safety of our communities.

Secure interoperability is technically feasible. For the benefit of public safety, and as first responders’ provider of choice for decades, Verizon is ready, willing and able.

Mike Maiorana is the SVP of Public Sector at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.




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