Council members for the city of Charlotte, N.C., yesterday voted to approve a contract with Alcatel-Lucent to build a 700 MHz LTE network for its public-safety personnel that calls for the vendor to provide hosted access to an LTE core.

Charlotte was one of five regions of the country that had its 700 MHz broadband proposal approved to receive a grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) program to fund the deployment of a dedicated LTE network to be used by first-responder agencies. Charlotte was granted almost $17 million in BTOP money for the project.

Yesterday’s decision marks the first public-safety LTE win for Alcatel-Lucent, one of the largest manufacturers of LTE network equipment for commercial carriers. Perhaps more significantly, the deal is the first public-safety LTE contract that calls for the vendor to provide LTE core services via a hosted model.

Because of massive capacity and expense associated with an LTE core, most in the public-safety sector believe it is not feasible for each first-responder entity wanting dedicated LTE connectivity to purchase and manage its own core. With this in mind, vendors are offering to host an LTE core on behalf of the public-safety entities, which allows them to avoid the upfront expense of buying a costly core or having to find and pay personnel to manage it.

“The hosted model takes a lot of the risk out of it for them and entrusts it to a vendor who manages networks as part of their core competency,” Morgan Wright, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent’s global public-safety segment, has said during a previous interview about the hosted model.