Urgent Matters

Adams County deployment a nice start, but FirstNet still has lots of work ahead of it

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Launching the Adams County, Colo., public-safety LTE network—the first system deployed with the blessing of FirstNet—was both an opportunity for celebration and a sobering reminder of just how much work needs to be done in the public-safety-broadband arena.

Last Friday’s event to recognize the launch of the initial phase of the Adams County, Colo., public-safety LTE network—the first system deployed with the blessing of FirstNet—was both an opportunity for celebration and a sobering reminder of just how much work needs to be done in the public-safety-broadband arena.

Reasons for celebration are obvious. Adams County’s LTE system gives FirstNet a much-needed win at a time when some skeptics openly wondered whether any public-safety broadband networks would be built within the FirstNet structure. And, in many ways, having Adams County as the first public-safety LTE deployment under the FirstNet umbrella is very appropriate.

From a technical standpoint, having a real-world network so close to the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) labs and the FirstNet technical headquarters in Boulder, Colo., should be very beneficial as network-design planning is done.

Another reason making Adams County a fitting host for the first LTE system under the FirstNet umbrella was the manner in which the deployment occurred. This was not a simple matter of getting a grant and spending the money. Instead, Adams County had to survive both a project freeze from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and spectrum-lease negotiations that soured so much that talks actually were halted for a period last year.

At that point, the Adams County project appeared to be dead—as unlikely to happen as reallocation of the 700 MHz D Block spectrum to public safety appeared to be in late 2011, according to Capitol Hill sources. However, extra persistence paid off more than two years ago, resulting in the legislation that established FirstNet in 2012. The same could be said for Adams County, which somehow resurrected talks with FirstNet and reached an agreement that led to last week’s public-safety LTE launch.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jun 10, 2014

The top view of this project is great to read about. But there are those like me that would like to know how this project will ramp up froma user/operational standpoint. For example, what is the current operational use of the 5 sites that have been deployed under the start-up, through what the intended operational use/benefit will be when the 18 sites are completed. Also, what advantages can be measured against whatever is currently available in the same operational footprint defined by the system and its users over what is available commercially already.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jun 10, 2014

Informative article, thanks for sharing. However, "56" states?

Second page, second paragraph, last sentence.

on Jun 10, 2014

It's actually "56 states and territories"--50 states and 6 territories that Congress requires FirstNet to serve.

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Donny Jackson is editor of Urgent Communications magazine. Before joining UC in 2002, he covered telecommunications for four years as a freelance writer and as news editor for Telephony magazine....
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