A unified, interoperable, first responder network that is prioritized for public safety and other critical infrastructure entities is an idea worth working toward and fighting for. When achieved, this first responder network will bring a more sophisticated, coordinated, efficient response from our public safety agencies, and it will save lives and increase situational awareness during emergency events. Such a network is technically possible and actively being championed. Band 14 FirstNet is going to be implemented in service to this vision although the important questions, how and when, still have not been clearly answered.
For municipalities who won ARRA grant monies to be distributed by BTOP to build out private LTE 700MHz networks on Band 14, timing is now critical. With the grant monies set to expire in 2015, some municipalities are looking at their prized grant dollars going up in smoke, with no operational private LTE network to show for it.
In North Carolina, one such municipality has a strategy to move forward. Their strategy involves a procurement path that operates within the criteria of their BTOP grant funding and delivers a broadband solution to their critical infrastructure in the short term. This procurement involves procuring a hybrid Band 14 private LTE/public Band 17 or Band 13 mobile broadband gateway. The device will ship with public LTE today, but can be upgraded in the field with a Band 14 FirstNet modem upgrade kit in the future. Once both private and public LTE has been activated in this single mobile LTE vehicle router, it can failover between FirstNet and public LTE seamlessly.
For more information on one dual-network LTE vehicle router that we are confident will be supplying a FirstNet Band 14 upgrade kit, the CalAmp Fusion, visit this overview page http://usatcorp.com/calamp-fusion.