Fire officials and emergency responders in Ohio had the opportunity to experience the future of broadband and emergency communications in critical, large-scale situations. FirstNet constructed a dedicated LTE broadband network for an event occurring around Dayton, Ohio. The dedicated network was for exclusive use by fire, law enforcement, EMS, and public safety personnel.
The event was sponsored by the state of Ohio and Green County, Ohio, and involved 6 months of preparation. The public safety network used the special band class 14 (700 MHz) frequencies that have been set aside by the FCC for FirstNet’s use. The test network was fairly large and included the network core in Columbus, Ohio at the State of Ohio Computer Center (SOCC) with fiber and microwave backhaul to three sites in Greene County and two additional test sites at the SOCC and the State of Ohio Emergency Operations Center. The test included five emergency scenarios at different physical locations.
According to an interview with an OhioFirst.Net representative, participants were impressed with how much information could be shared between public safety responders without going through a dispatcher and the speed and clarity of information, including videos and photographs, that appeared on their mobile devices. However, an issue noticed during the testing was a lack of battery power to mobile devices compared to land mobile radios.
Connect Iowa, in partnership with the Iowa Statewide Interoperability Communications System Board (ISICSB), has delivered FirstNet presentations to representatives of all 99 Iowa counties and hosted workshops in the 6 regions throughout Iowa. During these workshops, a chair and vice-chair were elected to the Regional Interoperability Committee (RIC) to work with the ISICSB.
About FirstNet: The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States prompted the 9/11 Commission to recommend a dedicated public safety communications network. This network would be interoperable and nationwide to resolve the communication issues emergency responders face when tragedy strikes. The First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, an organization created in 2012 as part of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation, is overseeing the building of the network.
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