Public-safety personnel in Las Vegas are accessing data information at 4G speeds via a dedicated Harris LTE system operating on Band 14 700 MHz spectrum as part of a six-month pilot program that was launched last week.

Leveraging a single 90-foot tower, the Harris LTE system can be accessed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department through modems installed in department vehicles. This is the second LTE pilot announced by Harris, and both initiatives — the other being in Miami — are supported by an LTE core located in Chelmsford, Mass., according to Chuck Shaughnessy, vice president of the LTE business for Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications.

Such pilot programs should be extremely helpful in helping decision-makers for both public safety and at a federal level learn about LTE from real-world experience, Shaughnessy said. This is especially true in the current environment, because the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has opted to suspend the planned deployment of several public-safety LTE networks to ensure that those initiatives fit into the plans for a nationwide broadband network for public safety, he said.

“We think it’s very important, and not just for us. We think it’s also important to public safety community at large,” Shaughnessy said. “Small-scale pilots that offer the ability to collaborate and learn what this new technology is all about is a good thing for everybody. I think it’s extraordinarily important, before we start to spending $7 billion, to get smarter on what’s possible and what we can do.”

With the pilot network — operating on six-month license from the FCC — Las Vegas officers are able to use applications while in the field that required a trip back to headquarters in the past, Shaughnessy said.

“They’re doing field reporting, where they’re using their laptop as an office, in essence—transmitting reports back into headquarters,” he said. “Our objective in all of this is to work with our customers who are technologically savvy and are trying to push the envelope technically.”

Both the Las Vegas and Miami pilots are single-site systems. Shaughnessy said Harris is working with customers in hopes of establishing a multisite LTE network, so more information can be learned about handoffs between sites in a 4G environment.

Related stories: