Several commercial cellular carrier networks failed during Hurricane Sandy, whereas most public safety LMR systems remained operational. This is largely due to the fact that public safety LMR sites have backup generators and have been hardened to endure severe weather—precautions that commercial carriers do not currently provide. Tahir Khan therefore calls on FirstNet to avoid relying too heavily on commercial cellular networks just to save money, since focusing on network resiliency will do more to save lives.
- The initial $7 billion in funding will be insufficient to deploy a private LTE network.
- Khan advocates a “build, own and operate” plan that would allow carriers to charge public safety agencies and raise more money for network deployment.
- Public safety entities would be able to share a joint core network infrastructure while utilizing independent sites.
Food for Thought
- Cellular carriers are starting to experiment with adding Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) to their services, which drains smartphone batteries at a faster rate, hindering public safety’s ability to reliably use private networks.
In addition to FirstNet’s desire to coordinate public safety’s use of private LTE networks domestically, they may also want to be mindful of international developments that could affect how the US coordinates with it’s neighbors on border-related issues