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Meeting Held to Plan 700-MHz Public Safety Demo Network

Telecommunications Reports Daily, April 20, 2010

By Paul Kirby

Officials today opened an inaugural stakeholder meeting to help them plan for the deployment of a public safety 700 megahertz demonstration network. The meeting runs through tomorrow at the Department of Commerce’s labs in Boulder, Colo.

It is being held by the Public Safety Communications Research Program, which is a joint project of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The meeting is covering project planning and scheduling, stakeholder participation and expectations, and initial test planning for the network, which will be designed to demonstrate and evaluate LTE (long term evolution) public safety capabilities to government agencies and vendors.

Project leader Emil Olbrich said in opening remarks that officials hope the network will generate vendor interest in developing products for Band 14, which includes the D block and adjacent 10 MHz of spectrum licensed to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust. And he said he hoped the network could help assist cities, states, and regions that want to build out 700 MHz band public safety broadband networks early. He also said that program staff would also continue to participate in the LTE standards-setting process to advocate for capabilities sought by public safety.

During today’s sessions, attendees discussed issues such as public safety roaming, priority access, and preemption requirements; standards work done so far; and network architecture.

Mr. Olbrich stressed that the purpose of the network was not to compare the products of various vendors, saying that any reports on the performance of products tested on the demonstration network would not disclose them by name.

He also said that while his staff wants input from the public safety and vendors communities on the deployment of the demonstration network, his program has “the final say” in all decisions.

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