Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2014

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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92 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MARCH/APRIL 2014 BROADBAND APPS Public Safety Transitions to FirstNet Connecticut is one of the states leading the way in implementing FirstNet, the nationwide public-safety broadband network. Though the benefts of the new network will be enormous, its organizational and technical challenges guarantee a slow transition. By Bill Vallée / State of Connecticut M ission-critical communications in public safety rely on traditional land mobile radio (LMR) systems. Tey provide a reliable means for personnel in the feld to communicate with one another and with command and control centers. However, LMR systems evolved over many decades, and a number of varying, often incompatible, systems are now in use nationwide. As a result, public- safety personnel struggle to communicate across jurisdictional and agency lines. Te problem isn't that public-safety agencies don't know about broadband. For non-mission- critical communications, public-safety agencies use a combination of low-bandwidth and high- speed broadband (largely commercial networks) to support their response eforts and perform functions such as digital dispatch, license plate queries, text messaging and transmission of low-resolution images. However, broadband networks have limited ability to support emergency responders because most are not interoperable or built to public-safety standards. As a result, although the public-safety community has made signifcant strides toward strengthening national preparedness and improving emergency communications capabilities, frst responders continue to be limited by fragmented networks and decades- old wireless technologies. THE PROMISE OF PUBLIC-SAFETY BROADBAND Deploying a cost-efective, nationwide wireless broadband network built to public- safety standards will provide public-safety agencies with access to advanced, cutting-edge technologies and applications to improve their emergency-response capabilities. Wireless broadband provides high-speed data communications in a mobile environment. Because of public safety's unique mission, emergency responders require wireless broadband services and devices that provide guaranteed access and a high level of reliability, coverage and security not likely to be ofered by commercial systems. By providing mobile access to real-time, multimedia information, a nationwide, public- safety wireless broadband network holds the promise to dramatically advance the public- safety community's ability to communicate among response agencies and access the information necessary to make the most informed decisions possible. For example, public- safety personnel will be able to access video images of a crime in progress, download building plans of a burning building to a handheld device or connect rapidly and securely with personnel from other towns and cities. In Connecticut, we expect the integration of broadband to result in a secure path for information-sharing initiatives, public-safety answering points (call centers that answer emergency calls) and Next Generation 9-1-1 integration. Just as smartphones changed the way businesses operate, these technology advancements will dramatically change the way emergency responders communicate and operate. BBC_Mar14.indd 92 3/14/14 3:22 PM

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