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Charlotte, N.C., Launches Revamped Public Safety Communications Network
Author: Brian Heating/Government Technology
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Fire Department and other responders now have access to 4G wireless speed in the field.
via Government Technology online
It took five years and a significant change in plans, but first responders in Charlotte, N.C., finally have a fourth-generation broadband network at their disposal.
The new high-end wireless network runs off of commercially available 4G provided by Verizon that was formally introduced late last month. The original project – where Charlotte would own and operate its own private LTE network – kicked-off in 2010, but fell through in 2013.
Work on the network was scuttled when Charlotte and the First Responder Network Authority – the federal group charged with delivering a nationwide public safety broadband network – failed to reach an agreement for wireless spectrum management. That led to the city’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant funding being halted.
As a result, Charlotte officials believed it would be increasingly difficult to get authorization from the FCC to use specific radio frequencies, so the city shifted gears to look at what options the private sector could provide. After a renegotiation with the U.S. Department of Commerce that allowed Charlotte to re-purpose its leftover $8.8 million in grant funds, the city was able to continue the project with the help of the private sector.
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