Verizon Requests Clarity on FirstNet State-Deployed LTE Cores
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 | Comments

Verizon Wireless asked the FCC to clarify whether a state may deploy a separate network core from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) if it chooses to opt out of the FirstNet and AT&T state plan.

In its June report and order on interoperability criteria and timing for states that opt out, the FCC said the decision of whether a state may include a separate state network core in its alternative plan is outside the scope of its statutory review responsibility.

“Although we will not reject an otherwise qualified alternative plan that includes a proposed state core, we will limit our review solely to the interoperability of the state RAN (radio access network) with the FirstNet network as directed by the act and will not examine possible RAN interconnection with non-FirstNet networks or cores,” the order said.

In a letter to the commission, Verizon said the FCC should confirm that its interoperability review of any state alternative plan will not be limited to a state RAN that interconnects directly with the network core built and operated by FirstNet and AT&T. In addition, Verizon said network interoperability can be achieved through alternative network configurations, including core-to-core interconnection and mutual automatic roaming arrangements that satisfy the FCC’s approved interoperability criteria.

“States should have the same flexibility as FirstNet to select partners for deploying and operating such a network,” said the letter from William H. Johnson, Verizon senior vice president federal regulatory and legal affairs. “This flexibility must include the state’s and its partner’s authority to build and operate their own network core, which includes data centers and systems used to interconnect users to each other and to other public networks, as long as it is interoperable with FirstNet’s nationwide network.”

Verizon said industry comments on FirstNet’s network interoperability policies show that a state’s use of its vendor’s own core network will be critical to soliciting and deploying a viable alternative plan. Verizon agrees, for example, that the Technical Advisory Board’s criteria “permit interoperability through the interconnection of two cores on a roaming basis,” the letter said. “… While FirstNet’s policies appear to accommodate core-to-core interconnection and roaming, the extent of FirstNet’s discretion to impose additional conditions renders uncertain the viability of such arrangements.”

The full letter is here.

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