Mobile BB Service
There is no mandate for public safety to subscribe to FirstNet broadband services. Each agency or individual in need of mobile broadband services should select a provider based upon their specific needs and the ability of that provider to meet those needs. The list below provides important factors to consider.
Coverage/Capacity - Useful coverage in the areas that your agency operates is essential; if you don't have coverage where you need it, none of the rest matters! Often times carriers will loan devices to test coverage prior to signing a service contract so be sure to take advantage of that. Sites continue to be added by carriers that improve coverage and capacity so don't rely upon older impressions or others' opinions - keep an open mind when comparing the services from different carriers. If you operate near the Canadian boundary be sure to explore how home coverage and roaming are handled along the boundary, and whether the expected services and features will be supported while roaming.
With LTE technology, coverage can be improved at the expense of capacity; testing during times of low use can give an optimistic impression of coverage relative to how the system will behave when more heavily loaded. If you have coverage or capacity concerns about specific areas, talk with the carriers and challenge them to defend their coverage claims.
Cost - The cost for service plans from the various providers, including FirstNet, are comparable. Subscribing agencies may also negotiate additional price concessions beyond those on the State contract.
Features/Functions - FirstNet's foundation is built on providing priority access for public safety. Verizon claims to offer an equivalent feature; there remains discussion of how Verizon's feature compares with FirstNet's guaranteed priority and pre-emption. There is a similar comparison and question related to public safety cores which are intended to keep public safety traffic separate from commercial traffic in order to provide a higher level of security. FirstNet plans to offer a one-touch ICAM (Identity, Credentialing, and Access Management) solution to simplify secure log-in. FirstNet plans to offer some applications that are hosted on their core and there has been discussion about how well interoperability among different carriers' subscribers will be supported.
As answers to these questions become known, this information will be updated. DHSES and the BBUG will continue to seek out such comparative information.
Public Safety Grade -Are the RAN, Core, network security, and disaster recovery plan public safety grade? Will the network support your essential broadband operations when needed? Is your agency's use of broadband optional or would a temporary loss of broadband impact its effectiveness? If so, discuss both the resiliency of the network and access to deployables with potential service providers.
Support - What level of broadband service support does your agency and its users need in order to support your mission? Will you have the necessary access to device repair/replacement, application support, network support, and RAN disaster recovery? AT&T has established a dedicated 24x7x365 FirstNet team within their existing GNOC (Global Network Operations Center). The help desk is staffed domestically and its personnel are to be trained so as to be sensitive to the needs of public safety users.
NYS OGS has negotiated State contract pricing for FirstNet services; refer to Contract No. PS63306, starting on page 74. State contract pricing for these services is competitive with other commercial mobile broadband options. A variety of plans are offered and they loosely mirror the types of plans offered today as either individual or family plans. Note that as of this writing, FirstNet devices are not yet available for purchase under the contract.
State agency employees interested in subscribing their State issued device to FirstNet should contact their agency or ITS just as they would if subscribing to any commercial wireless plan. Others should contact the AT&T FirstNet Sales person assigned to their county as shown below.
There are eligibility criteria that must be met in order to subscribe to FirstNet. Contact AT&T/FirstNet to determine agency and individual eligibility and proof of eligibility requirements needed when establishing service. Based upon these criteria, FirstNet users will fall into one of two categories, either Primary or Extended Primary; category placement determines the level of priority access provided and subscription cost.
Primary Users include all first responders (Fire, Law Enforcement, EMS, 911 call takers, and Emergency Managers) - those that qualify as Primary Users pay the base rate without any added fees and always have priority and pre-emption over non-primary users.
Extended Primary Users include those public safety entities and individuals that do not qualify as "Primary" users, but frequently support the emergency response. Extended Primary Users may also subscribe to an additional feature, First Priority, and for this they will always have priority over commercial users. Additionally, in the event of an emergency in which they are playing an important role, Extended Primary Users subscribed to First Priority service can be temporarily "uplifted" by a Primary User or Administrator and be given priority and preemption similar to that of a Primary User.
AT&T's Sales Team for New York State
AT&T has a dedicated Sales team for NYS public safety. The figure below identifies those sales team members and illustrates the regional assignments of each. John Bagdonas is the regional sales manager and, in addition to New York State, he is responsible for New Jersey and Puerto Rico. FirstNet service-specific questions are best addressed by the locally assigned salesperson. Additionally, answers to many questions may be found by referring to the FirstNet marketing portal or by referring to this website's FAQs .
In addition to the typical motivation of carriers to gain subscribers, AT&T has subscribership levels they must satisfy or else pay substantial penalties to FirstNet. As such, they are motivated to win the business of public safety agencies. You may be able to further negotiate prices below OGS rates. They may also be motivated to improve local coverage in order to gain your agency's subscribers.
If you have radio site infrastructure that might be useful when enhancing the RAN, talk to your local salesperson to explore what might be valuable to their RAN build out process.
AT&T's New York Sales Team
Verizon Service - Enhanced Solutions for Public Safety
Verizon understands the important role first responders have in protecting and serving our communities and is committed to supporting the communication needs of public safety agencies. Verizon has invested over $126B in network infrastructure since 2000. Learn about more solutions on the Verizon Public Safety web site or by contacting your Verizon Sales Team contact as listed below. For State Contract pricing of Verizon Telecommunication Services, refer to Contract No.PS63766.
Responder Private Core
Verizon provides access to its Responder Private Core at no additional cost to qualified public safety customers. The Responder Private Core segregates public safety data traffic from the Verizon commercial and consumer network. This means public safety agencies don’t have to compete with commercial users to share and receive texts, documents, video and more even during times of network congestion.
Verizon leverages Preemption during peak demand and emergency situations to automatically and temporarily reallocate network resources to designated users.
First Responder Benefits Program (individual subscribers)
Verizon recognizes the critical role first responders play in emergencies and crises. Whether part-time, full-time or a volunteer first responder, the ability to use your personal device to communicate is paramount to the success and outcome of any mission. Getting and staying connected is your top concern.
Verizon provides two priority services to eligible public safety customers at no additional cost. For information regarding these priority service offerings read below.
Mobile Broadband Priority (MBP) Service
MBP provides your agency with priority data service, so your communications take a higher priority to access the network over regular traffic when needed.
Wireless Priority Service (WPS)
WPS creates a special top-level voice priority for wireless communications access that key agency personnel can use during a crisis, such as national security alerts and natural disasters.
Other Services for Public Safety
Deployable Connectivity Equipment
Using a portable and rapidly deployable Mobile Connectivity Trailer, emergency response and search-and-rescue teams can create an area of cellular coverage in as little as an hour to support up to 42 active users.
One Talk IP Phone Solution
Our IP phone solution provides features that help streamline agency communications making it easier to stay in touch. Examples include sharing a single number between mobile and desktop phones, taking calls on both phones, conferencing and more.