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AT&T & Verizon Present about FirstNet at Sept NPSTC Governing Board Meeting

Date: 2017-09-13
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The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) held a well-attended Governing Board meeting in Washington, D.C., on September 6, 2017. In addition to updates from all the Working Groups and Committees, attendees heard from representatives of the Office of Emergency Communications, Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, Federal Partnership for Interoperable Communications, Federal Communications Commission, and carriers AT&T and Verizon. 

AT&T Clarifies Approach to Interoperability

Chris Sambar, Senior Vice President, AT&T, presented at the meeting regarding AT&T's plans to build and maintain the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) in accordance with public safety grade objectives as outlined in the FirstNet Request for Proposal (RFP) and FirstNet's contract with AT&T. These objectives were informed by FirstNet's Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), which used the NPSTC's report on public safety grade.

"I am familiar with NPSTC's commendable work, including the public safety grade report," Mr. Sambar said. "AT&T has a total commitment to public safety and its requirements." Addressing rumors that AT&T will not use Band 14, he said AT&T will use Band 14 for capacity and coverage. "The band came with significant commitments. The strategy is to deploy everywhere capacity is needed and for all new rural sites. In the first 5 years, Band 14 will comprise over 50 percent of the network." 

NPSTC acknowledges AT&T's participation in the development of its public safety grade definition published in 2014. Addressing rumors that AT&T will not use Band 14, Mr. Sambar said AT&T will use Band 14 for capacity and coverage. "The band came with significant commitments. The strategy is to deploy everywhere capacity is needed and for all new rural sites. In the first 5 years, Band 14 will comprise over 50 percent of the network."

Regarding encryption, Mr. Sambar stated, "All of the traffic from first responder subscribers, regardless of what spectrum band it's on, will be on the encrypted core...the core network will be encrypted end-to-end."

In response to a NPSTC question regarding AT&T's approach to interoperability, Mr. Sambar stated, "AT&T will not be building proprietary Push-to-Talk or Mission Critical solutions. Their solutions will be built on internationally recognized standards, such as 3GPP. Regarding interoperability between cores, the issue becomes much more complicated. FirstNet's decision, through the process of investigation from its Boulder, CO, labs, is that where there are seams in a network, that's where there is vulnerability and significant security concerns. That's why the network is being built as it is."

NPSTC appreciates AT&T's commitment and remains committed to supporting the implementation of the FirstNet broadband network. NPSTC Chair, Ralph Haller, provided an open invitation to AT&T and FirstNet to provide updates at future NPSTC meetings.


Verizon Response re: First Net RFP

Along with the AT&T presentation, Don Brittingham, Verizon's vice president-public safety policy, discussed Verizon's public safety services and recent announcement of plans to build a core public safety network. When asked why Verizon did not bid on the FirstNet RFP, he said Verizon didn't have an interest in the spectrum allocated to FirstNet. He said Verizon's plans meet or exceed the vast majority of NPSTC's public safety grade requirements. Verizon is planning to offer preemption by the end of this year, and the company needs public safety input on local control and priority and preemption. Kevin McGinnis, National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) and FirstNet Board member, asked how Verizon will seek public safety input. Mr. Brittingham said Verizon would assemble an advisory team and that the company has reached out to FirstNet.


Next Week: Satellite Service & Public Safety – Live Panel Session

NPSTC’s Broadband Emerging Technologies Working Group will host two panels on Satellite Service. A panel of experts representing all aspects of the satellite industry will participate in two sessions to explain current and emerging technology trends and how public safety agencies can better leverage this service to support emergency operations. The first session is Wednesday, September 20, which will examine current satellite services available to support first responders. The second session is Wednesday, September 27, which will examine new trends in satellite service, including the use of Low Earth Orbit systems that can provide broadband connectivity. 

Both sessions are at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

Conference Line:  510-227-1018, ID:  869 9040#

Screen Share:  https://Join.Me/NPSTCsupport1

- People, Places & Things/ (via NPSTC, 9/12/17)



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