Verizon officials have stated that AT&T’s ability to have FirstNet traffic interoperate with its own AT&T commercial core is an indication that interoperability is possible with other carriers that meet FirstNet’s security requirements.

“Today, the network interconnection that we do today is not core-to-core specifically,” Don Brittingham, Verizon’s vice president of public-safety policy, said last month during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “It’s network-to-network, but it’s done through a device called a session border controller that resides in each of our networks. It certainly works in conjunction with the evolved packet core, but it’s not technically part of the core.”

This sentiment was reiterated last week in a LinkedIn post from Mike Maiorana, senior vice president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions—Public Sector. In the post, Maiorana notes that network interoperability “is not a new or particularly difficult concept,” that “competing networks talk to each other and share vital data effectively and securely every day” and that providing “interoperable services across networks” with security is commonplace.

“Our planned public-safety network will consist of a dedicated public safety network core operating in parallel to our commercial core—similar to AT&T’s planned FirstNet solution,” according to Maiorana’s post. “Under our proposed solution, our core and AT&T’s core would not connect. Instead, both companies would provide transport services that deliver traffic to FirstNet’s data centers via IP backhaul.

“In addition to everyday voice and data services, first responders would also have access to FirstNet applications on both networks, as well as a second network to fall back on. Having two networks will provide unrivalled nationwide coverage, redundancy and reliability.”

One potential issue associated with Maiorana’s proposed approach is that it depends on the existence of FirstNet data centers, but there has been no public statement that such data centers will be part of the FirstNet system. Some sources close to the FirstNet project have indicated that they do not believe the FirstNet system will have such data centers, but none were willing to speak definitively on the subject or speak on the record.

IWCE’s Urgent Communications asked FirstNet, AT&T and Verizon to provide official statements about the data-center issue, but responses were not received in time to be included in this article.