Public-Safety LTE Demo Network Planned for World Ski Championships (1/6/15)
Tuesday, January 06, 2015 | Comments

By Sandra Wendelken
Colorado public-safety agencies are planning to deploy a band class 14 700 MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) demonstration network during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships (FIS AWSC) Feb. 2 – 15 in Vail and Beaver Creek, two mountain ski resorts in the state.

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Colorado, public-safety agencies in Vail and Eagle County, General Dynamics Mission Systems and Crown Castle have collaborated to provide the network. First responders using the pilot network will experience how a dedicated wireless broadband data network compares with commercial networks and will have the opportunity to use next-generation LTE devices designed for local, state and federal responders.

FIS AWSC is an international-level event that will draw about 150,000 spectators. The event will include about 800 international athletes, staff and coaches from more than 70 different countries. About 2,200 first responders and volunteers will be working during the event. The primary race venue will be at Beaver Creek Ski Resort, which is 10 miles west of Vail.

About 30 first responders will be on the pilot network, depending on the number of devices available, said Brian Shepherd, broadband program manager, Colorado Office of Information Technology (OIT). Agencies with users on the network will include the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department, the Vail police and fire departments, some federal agencies, and possibly local search and rescue and ski patrol users.

With approval from FirstNet, the FCC granted a special temporary authorization (STA) to use the band 14 spectrum. The demonstration network will include four eNodeBs integrated into four of the sites used on a 29-site Distributed Antenna System (DAS) recently constructed in the town of Vail by Crown Castle. A deployable cell on wheels (COW) will be located at the base of the Beaver Creek race site, which is fairly remote and a difficult area for coverage, and networked to the event command post.

General Dynamics Mission Systems will provide all the LTE core and radio access network (RAN) equipment. To access the infrastructure, responder vehicles will be equipped with CalAmp modems, capable of providing Wi-Fi hot spots, as well as ruggedized band class 14 smartphones provided by Sonim Technologies.

Fixed cameras will offer video observation and license plate reading. Situational awareness apps and CAD and records management apps are planned for the network, said Shepherd, who is also Colorado’s FirstNet point of contact.

Adams County, Colorado, is one of five early builders of FirstNet. All but one of the network’s 18 sites are operational, said Richard Coleman, General Dynamics Mission Systems LTE program manager for Adams County. About 500 devices are operating on the network. The network is expected to expand to Denver International Airport (DIA) by the end of the first quarter.

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