Persistent Telecom Builds 1.9 GHz Public-Safety LTE Network in Missouri
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | Comments

Persistent Telecom Inc. (PTI) funded, designed and is building a wireless broadband network in Sedalia, Missouri, for public-safety users. The 1.9 GHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) band 2 network is expected to take more than a year to build out, and PTI officials hope to have significant assets in place by the 2017 Missouri State Fair in August.

PTI’s partners in the effort include Airspan, Elbit Systems, Nokia and SES Satellite networks.

“If all goes according to plan, the drills and exercises we demonstrate in August will lead to modifications and improvements resulting toward our final goal,” said Chris Porto, PTI senior vice president enterprise and government.

PTI will provide dedicated smartphones and access to the private LTE network for key management personnel (KMP), including first responders and government officials. The PTI network will create a secure communications bubble covering critical infrastructure for the city of Sedalia, Missouri State Fairgrounds and Bothwell Regional Health Center, the local hospital.

PTI’s Sustainable Communications Network (SCN) will allow authorities to communicate with each other and the public during emergencies. PTI said it established a mobile-phone network with a satellite backbone. Responding to the government’s growing need to function under adverse operational conditions, PTI’s private LTE networks operate using commercially available smartphones. The SCN’s primary function is to give key management personnel guaranteed communications under conditions of degraded or denied access to telephone networks and the internet. The SCN can also be used daily to support emergent, time-sensitive operational situations.

Specific user groups have not yet been identified, but PTI has reached out to the principal members of the local community and invited all interested government officials and first responders to a Nov. 17 discussion.

“We will activate as many users as the community desires,” Porto said.

The company is testing a number of smartphones and first responder applications. PTI identified a hardened smartphone from Spectrum Communications Specialists, a Rice Electronics company, and Elbit System’s Widebridge first responder smartphone platform for the network.

Porto said PTI is not a bidder for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) request for proposals (RFP) for a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN). However, the company is using the Missouri network to introduce itself to the public-safety community.

“We are launching the effort this week to introduce ourselves to the community — that we might gain their support and guidance,” he said. “We intend to build the private LTE network to suit their requirements, and we hope to share lessons learned — culminating in a final product that others will want to replicate.”

In 2015, PTI completed a proof-of-concept SCN for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at two of its Washington, D.C., facilities. The systems were installed, tested and demonstrated on time within budget, a PTI statement said.

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