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Public Safety Sector Can Use Shared Network with Commercial Carriers: New Study

TMCnews Featured Article

February 07, 2011

Public Safety Sector Can Use Shared Network with Commercial Carriers: New Study

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Researchers have found that a proposal to give priority access to public safety departments on a shared network with commercial carriers is feasible.

Under a new study, the researchers conclude there were no technical obstacles to the proposal from the FCC (News - Alert).

The study, conducted by Roberson and Associates, shows that partnerships with commercial carriers even give “significant advantages” to public safety employees on the network.

The study "refutes the myth that commercial broadband wireless networks can’t provide enhanced coverage and overflow capacity to a dedicated nationwide public safety data network,” Dennis Roberson, president and CEO of Roberson and Associates, LLC, said in a company statement.

“The priority access mechanisms described in the study rely on capabilities inherent in the existing Long Term Evolution (LTE (News - Alert)) standard selected by both public safety and commercial providers for their next generation systems,” Roberson explained.

He said that LTE gives public safety users:

  • Control over their traffic.
  • Automatic access to dedicated public safety networks or shared commercial networks.
  • Room for priority public safety information transfer on a busy network.
  • The ability to set up a connection on a busy network.

The study was commissioned by T-Mobile (News - Alert) USA and Sprint Nextel.

Some in the public safety sector challenged whether to use the 10 MHz D-Block on a shared basis with their currently dedicated 10 MHz broadband spectrum at 700 MHz, according to Roberson.

The Federal Communications Commission wants to auction the D-Block off for public safety uses.

Roberson is the founder, president and CEO of Roberson and Associates. He is also vice provost and research professor of computer science at Illinois Institute of Technology.

TMCnet reported that Roberson was recently named to the FCC Technology Advisory Council. The council is made up of technology experts to help the FCC “identify important areas of innovation and develop informed technology policies supporting America's competitiveness and job creation in the global economy,” according to a report from TMCnet.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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