Verizon, Motorola offering LTE for public safety networks

Verizon and Motorola are teaming up to give public safety agencies access to their own LTE networks that can be supplemented by Verizon coverage when needed.

The two companies this week announced they were offering a joint solution where Motorola would provide LTE infrastructure to public safety agencies to develop their own public safety networks. In places where their own networks are out of range, the agencies would be able to access Verizon's LTE network for supplemental coverage.

CAMPAIGN: Public safety groups press for more spectrum

Verizon director of government strategy Dominic Demark says that the public agencies' LTE networks will run over the 10MHz of spectrum on the 700MHz band that's already been cleared for use by public safety networks. Verizon's goal in providing the supplemental coverage will be to "give public safety agencies more capacity than the 5 megs up and down that they're getting" on their own networks, Demark says.

"The Verizon network will be wherever the private network is not," he says. "We're also offering site sharing and the co-location of towers, as well as working with other vendors and manufacturers to make sure there's a vast array of devices that operate on the Verizon network."

For its part, Motorola will be providing the agencies with the network equipment and devices necessary to connect to the LTE network. Demark says that the company is starting out with 14 different kinds of dongles and is going to have an array of LTE-based smartphones available tailored to public safety agencies in the near future.

The Federal Communications Commission had originally set up a large block of 700MHz spectrum to be reserved for a nationwide public safety network, although plans for building the network fell through when no bidder met the FCC's clearing price. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last year said he wanted to try reauctioning the spectrum, although public safety groups have expressed skepticism that another auction would be effective a second time around.

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