Verizon to Launch Public-Safety Dedicated Core Thursday
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 | Comments

Verizon announced its public-safety dedicated private core will be generally available March 29. The carrier said the private core is the platform for expanded products and services designed to enhance Verizon’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) network for public safety.

The expanded public-safety services include traffic segmentation, priority and pre-emption, improved security, and enhanced service management and control. The public-safety core separates data traffic of public-safety mobile users from commercial users across Verizon’s LTE network using software-defined networking tools.

“The core physically separates public-safety data traffic, and the network runs on dedicated resources, including network function virtualization,” said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president, public sector for Verizon.

The core is connected to Verizon’s radio access network (RAN), which uses spectrum in various bands including 700 and 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz personal communications services (PCS) and 1.7/2.1 GHz advanced wireless services (AWS) bands.

Public-safety users will have their data immediately recognized as public safety with priority access at the tower and through the network. During times of heavy commercial network congestion, Verizon’s Mobile Broadband Priority Service (MBP) users running applications on smartphones or tablets, transmitting data from vehicles or video from surveillance cameras will receive priority over commercial users. MBP, Wireless Priority Service (WPS) and private network traffic management combine to transmit the voice, data and internet of things (IoT) communications for public safety.

Pre-emption will allow Verizon to automatically reallocate network resources from commercial data users to first responders if network capacity is reached. When a cell site’s resource utilization has reached its limit, which is rare, pre-emption will automatically kick in for enabled public-safety customers, Maiorana said.

Both MBP and pre-emption service will be offered at no additional charge for public-safety customers who request it. “Public-safety users are going to be set up on a customer-by-customer basis, ensuring we are hand holding our customers and they have the necessary qualifications,” Maiorana said. “In general terms, our network is enabled with this technology, and as we do with any new service, we will work with each of our customers to migrate them in.”

He said the network has been tested in the laboratory and real-world situations including with Los Angeles County Fire at the Tournament of Roses Parade in January.

“Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts have come out and said to their state agencies, counties and cities that FirstNet is not mandatory — choose the wireless provider that suits your needs,” Maiorana said. “We’re enhancing our offerings dedicated to public safety on the back of a world-class network better than anything available. The market will determine how successful we are.”

He noted that no taxpayer money is involved in the Verizon network upgrade. “We’re doing this because it’s an important customer base and investment,” he said. “We’ve spent more than $111 billion in infrastructure since 2000. What we’re doing for public safety is part of all that.”

Verizon plans to launch a public-safety application store later this year.

AT&T announced on the same day that it was launching its own dedicated evolved packet core (EPC) for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). FirstNet officials are still testing and verifying the core rollout, and most FirstNet customers will be moved to the core by May.

“We are heavily advocating for interoperability and the services that are ultimately rendered to this customer base,” Maiorana said. “We believe interoperability for first responders is critical.”

“Public safety answers the call when we need them most,” said John Stratton, Verizon executive vice president and president of global operations. “We remain committed to providing them innovative communications solutions that help them help us, and we are honored by the trust they put in Verizon every day.”

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