State of Texas Files Interoperability Showing for 700 MHz Broadband Network (9/21/11)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Comments

The state of Texas filed an updated interoperability showing to demonstrate the technical and operational proficiency necessary to achieve operability and interoperability of public-safety broadband networks, according to FCC guidelines. The document is expected to be a model used by the other 21 jurisdictions that received 700 MHz broadband waivers, a Texas public-safety official said.

The FCC granted the state’s waiver request for early 700 MHz broadband network buildout in May. The interoperability document outlines the state’s strategies, methods and processes to implement a statewide public-safety interoperable Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. The state intends to have a recommended technical requirements document for local jurisdiction procurement use developed by Dec. 1. “Such a network would be realized through a fair and competitive procurement environment created by public-safety agencies desiring to buildout in Texas,” the filing said.

Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, awarded a contract to Motorola Solutions earlier this year for the county’s public-safety LTE buildout. “The state will deploy the statewide network in phases, beginning with the BIG-Net project as the first phase being implemented for the Houston metropolitan and coastal region,” the filing said. “Additional interoperability showings will be presented to the FCC in advance of construction of future infrastructure phases.”

“The state of Texas has worked closely over the past couple of months with the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) staff on the Texas interoperability showing in an effort to get it as perfect as possible, as we know it likely will become a state-level model for the rest of the country,” said Mike Simpson, Texas Department of Public Safety chief of interoperable communications. “We are hopeful that our version 7, just filed, will result in prompt FCC approval, meaning that Texas would become the first of the 21 broadband waiverees to have achieved that status.”

Simpson said that full operation on the public-safety broadband channels still couldn’t take place in Texas until the public land mobile network identification (PLMN ID) issue is settled at the national level. “If all goes as planned, however, availability of public-safety broadband service is projected to occur in the Harris County area on or about Aug. 1, 2012,” he said.

Texas supports a multivendor environment and will ensure that early deployments within its borders will be consistent with current and future FCC orders relating to nationwide interoperability, serve as the state-level interface with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) and the FCC’s Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC), and facilitate coordinated equipment development and purchases throughout the state.

“Approved agencies would be granted authority by the state of Texas through the Texas Department of Public Safety to construct and operate LTE layers under the broadband waiver granted to Texas by the FCC May 12,” the filing said.

The FCC asked waiver recipients to submit interoperability showings as their buildouts progress. Texas is the only waiver recipient to file an interoperability showing, an FCC official said.

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