Some sort of dedicated voice network is needed for San Francisco’s first responders and transit workers. And, while voice over the LTE system likely will happen, the capability doesn’t exist today and no one knows when it actually will be a viable option for government entities.
Even if Congress allocates enough money for the deployment of LTE systems nationwide, state and local policymakers should be aware that there likely would not be a “free” ride, because often-overlooked costs like backhaul, operations and support services can be substantial.
Amid all the focus on LightSquared’s bid to become a player in the terrestrial LTE market, some may forget that LightSquared’s existing business is providing satellite communications, including the only push-to-talk satellite offering in the industry. But that business could be in trouble, if the carrier is prohibited from pursuing its LTE plans.
Thanks to revenue from landing fees at one of the busiest airports in the world, this critical-infrastructure location has the money to build out its own LTE network that promises to meet all of the performance and interoperability standards that the FCC and other oversight organizations may establish.
Throughout the lengthy debate on Capitol Hill regarding a potential nationwide broadband network for first responders, proponents noted the need for public safety to adopt LTE technology because of the economies of scale associated with the global commercial cellular market.
The emphasis on interoperable communications that rose out of the ashes of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks forced public-safety agencies to think regionally, if for no other reason than that was the only way to qualify for federal funding for such projects. Many public safety-agencies will have to adopt a similar mindset if they want to realize the power of broadband.