As Pope Francis visited Philadelphia last weekend, law-enforcement personnel responsible for ensuring the pontiff’s safety had unprecedented access to real-time video and other key applications, thanks to the use of deployable public-safety LTE units provided by the state of New Jersey’s JerseyNet program.

During an IWCE’s Urgent Communications webinar sponsored by InfoVista, Pennsylvania State Police Capt. William Williams yesterday said that the four-site deployable public-safety LTE network worked “extremely well” throughout the Pope Francis visit.

“One of the most significant accomplishments was the proof of concept that it worked and how it worked in an urban environment during an incident like this,” Williams said during the webinar, which is available on demand at this link. “The fact [was] that we could stream high-definition video and that we had full connectivity the whole weekend, with no interruptions.”

Fred Scalera—the public-safety broadband manager from New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness—echoed this sentiment, noting that the deployed system supported about 40 users throughout the Pope Francis visit, averaging about 4.5 GB per hour of total usage without ever reaching the network’s maximum capacity.

“We got to do a lot of different things, and it worked very well,” Scalera said during the webinar. “Sharing video went well. Overall, if this proves to be where our network is going, I'm very happy, and I think we'll have a successful deployment.”

To support the Pope Francis visit to Philadelphia, two JerseyNet system-on-wheels (SOW) trailers were deployed in the upper levels of separate parking garage and were connected via microwave to a JerseyNet SOW in Camden, N.J., Scalera said. In case the microwave link was disrupted, the sites also have satellite connectivity, which provides less data throughput than the microwave link but would maintain some communications, including all voice communications, he said.

In addition, two vehicles with deployable LTE gear were used in Pennsylvania to provide coverage when Pope Francis traveled outside of the Philadelphia coverage area, such as when he visited a prison, Scalera said.