Massachusetts Awards Contract for Public-Safety Data Services to Verizon, FirstNet
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Comments

The commonwealth of Massachusetts has authorized Verizon, alongside AT&T First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), to offer services to public-safety agencies through the state’s public safety grade wireless data agreement. A Verizon executive said the contract is the first multivendor public-safety wireless data contract the carrier has seen.

The estimated value of purchases resulting from the bid is $303 million during the life of the contract, including all renewals, according to the October 2018 request for responses (RFR). The contract can be used by municipal, county and state agencies to purchase wireless data services and devices for first responders and other public-safety personnel throughout Massachusetts.

Verizon services for the ITT72 statewide contract include Responder Private Core, a virtualized separate Long Term Evolution (LTE) core that maximizes security for public-safety users. The carrier said its Responder Private Core intelligently manages traffic between commercial and public-safety customers. The carrier will also provide Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard technology to implement quality of service (QoS), priority and pre-emption for first responders in the commonwealth.

The RFR required bidders to indicate their approach and commitment to interoperability with other wireless data carriers. “In particular, bidders must explain how their approach achieves interoperability now and in the foreseeable future between users of different carriers and different public-safety wireless broadband data cores,” the document said. “EOPSS is seeking an environment where all responders to an event or incident can seamlessly communicate, share data and use common applications across wireless service providers.”

“The ability for public-safety users throughout Massachusetts to communicate seamlessly while responding to incidents is of the utmost importance,” said Kerry Collins, undersecretary for forensic science and technology, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). “Bringing real-time communications to our first responders enables us to better protect and serve.”

Verizon will provide seamless wireless communications across jurisdiction, public-safety discipline and wireless carrier. Public-safety users responding to major incidents will be able to talk, text, share multimedia and communicate in real-time, regardless of their selected public safety grade wireless carrier, plan or device.

“We’re excited to support first responders in Massachusetts and provide them with reliable and secure wireless services,” said Maggie Hallbach, vice president of state, local and education sales at Verizon. “When safety is on the line, first responders need to know that the communications systems they depend on will be fully operational to help keep them and the public safe during emergency situations. Verizon has a long history of supporting first responders and we’re proud to bring our interoperable wireless technology to public safety officials in Massachusetts.”

Hallbach said the contract specifically allows for multiple vendors to work together to deliver on the evolving requirements of first responders. “Being able to have a variety of different choices allows for that ability to create interoperable solutions,” she said. “I think the commonwealth of Massachusetts wants to ensure there is seamless communications during incidents.”

Verizon does not have subcontractors on the contract but its partner device vendors and application providers will deliver a portfolio of voice and data services. Several law-enforcement apps are supported through the carrier’s business solutions store. Plans for an app store specific to public safety are still underway, Hallbach said.

Bids for the procurement were due Oct. 30, and the contract was made public in May. A user guide including eligible users for each carrier is here.

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