Board members for the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) today approved a $175 million contract with Motorola Solutions to construct a public-safety LTE network that is scheduled to be completed next summer.

"Proceeding with this wireless public-safety broadband network for the Los Angeles region will assist LA-RICS in fulfilling its goal of providing the finest public-safety-grade, mission-critical communications to the region's public-safety professionals," LA-RICS Executive DIrector Patrick Mallon said in a prepared statement.

Funded primarily with $154.6 million in federal grants from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the 231-site LA-RICS network will be the largest public-safety broadband network in the U.S. until FirstNet begins its deployments in earnest. Under existing NTIA rules, LA-RICS must complete the public-safety LTE project by Aug. 15, 2015.

LA-RICS will use the 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum licensed to FirstNet under the terms of a spectrum-lease agreement that was signed last August. The primary condition of that agreement is that LA-RICS officials will ensure that the LTE network being built by Motorola Solutions will meet the interoperability and reliability standards of the FirstNet system.

LA-RICS is one of only four entities that has signed a spectrum-lease agreement with FirstNet to use the 20 MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 700 MHz band that is licensed to FirstNet for the purpose of supporting a nationwide broadband network for public safety. As a condition of that agreement, the LA-RICS project must integrate with the nationwide LTE network that FirstNet eventually will build.

As part of the new contract, Motorola Solutions will provide an evolved packet core, a Band Class 14 eNodeB for each of the 231 sites, and 1,000 VML 700 LTE vehicle modems "for the initial testing" of the LA-RICS LTE network, according to a Motorola Solutions press release.

“Public-safety agencies throughout the Los Angeles region will benefit tremendously from a new LTE broadband network delivering mission-critical data every day," Mark Moon, Motorola Solutions executive vice president, said in a prepared statement. "The region places a high priority on its first responders, and this broadband public-safety network will help them communicate more effectively with advanced video and data capabilities.

"Motorola Solutions knows the importance of public-safety communications, and we greatly appreciate being chosen by LA-RICS to use our experience to build an advanced data network as well as an interoperable radio system to serve the entire region.”