Public-safety LTE network pushes toward standards for pack-core gear

The government body setting standards for the nationwide, interoperable public-safety broadband network has finished testing radio-access network infrastructure and will begin interoperability testing of packet-core equipment on July 9.

According to an IDG News Service report, the Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) is working to set new standards for the network. The network, which was given the green light and $7 billion in funding via a payroll tax bill signed into law in February, will take years to construct. However, the PSCR is trying to get the ball rolling by setting standards for the network, which the group hopes will transform the landscape from a patchwork of local solutions to a nationwide system.

"Because they didn't have standards for the last 80 years, they have to duct-tape everything together," said Emil Olbrich, a lead project engineer at PSCR, which is a joint project of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The standards setting and request for proposals currently underway will take several months to complete. Following the RFP's release, each state governor will have 90 days to accept or opt out of the nationwide buildout plan. Any state that does not participate in the nationwide buildout must submit its own construction plan within six months and receive FCC approval for it.

NTIA has established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to operate the network, but the FirstNet board will not be seated until August. Until then, the PSCR will work on standards and vendors will line up to be part of the network.

With cost a key concern, the market is attracting a different set of players with platforms that could make LTE deployments affordable for even the smallest jurisdictions. For example, Adax and Aricent Group have collaborated on a turnkey "network in a box" for LTE Evolved Packet Core applications.

For more:
- see this IDG News Service article

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