The nation’s largest wireless carriers each debuted new network cores dedicated to public safety communications last week.
AT&T, the federal vendor for the FirstNet public safety network, launched the FirstNet evolved packet core, while Verizon unveiled its own public safety private core. Both companies said their respective systems separate first responder communications from commercial users.
AT&T said a limited number of users would be moved to the new FirstNet core initially; more would migrate in coming weeks as testing is completed. Company officials said the core is built on physically separate hardware from the equipment in commercial service and users could begin using FirstNet-ready devices as well as a dedicated SIM card.
In addition, the core enables First Priority, which allows public safety agencies to assign communication priority levels as events unfold, as well as the Incident Management Portal, which enables critical users to receive the highest priority levels.
Chris Sambar, who heads AT&T’s FirstNet operations, called the announcement “one of the most exciting milestones yet.”
Verizon, meanwhile, said its new core will immediately recognize public safety data at the tower and throughout the network.
The core will connect to Verizon’s Radio Access Network — which uses 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz PCS, 1.7/2.1 GHz AWS Cellular and other spectrum bands — and offers traffic segmentation and leading edge networking technology.
Verizon’s service will also provide priority service for public safety communications or data transmissions, as well as the ability to preempt commercial users if more network capacity is needed.
The nation’s largest carrier vowed to build its own public safety core last year as AT&T pushed for states to opt into FirstNet.
“Our public safety network will provide a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for public safety, and we’ll continue working to ensure first responders get the network reliability and access to innovative services they need to keep our communities safe,” Verizon public sector SVP Michael Maiorana said in a statement.
Filed Under: Infrastructure