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NPSTC Press Release on Public Safety Grade
National Public Safety Telecommunications Council
Chris Sambar, Senior Vice President, AT&T, presented at the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) Governing Board meeting on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C., regarding AT&T's plans to build and maintain the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN)in accordance with public safety grade objectives as outlined in the FirstNet Request for Proposal (RFP) and FirstNet's contract with AT&T.  These objectives were informed by FirstNet's Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), which used the NPSTC's report on public safety grade.
"I am familiar with NPSTC's commendable work, including the public safety grade report," Mr. Sambar said, "AT&T has a total commitment to public safety and its requirements."  NPSTC acknowledges AT&T's participation in the development of its public safety grade definition published in 2014.
Addressing rumors that AT&T will not use Band 14, Mr. Sambar said AT&T will use Band 14 for capacity and coverage.  "The band came with significant commitments.  The strategy is to deploy everywhere capacity is needed and for all new rural sites.  In the first 5 years, Band 14 will comprise over 50 percent of the network."
Regarding encryption, Mr. Sambar stated, "All of the traffic from first responder subscribers, regardless of what spectrum band it's on, will be on the encrypted core ... the core network will be encrypted end-to-end."
In response to a NPSTC question regarding AT&T's approach to interoperability, Mr. Sambar stated, "AT&T will not be building proprietary Push-to-Talk or Mission Critical solutions.  Their solutions will be built on internationally recognized standards, such as 3GPP.  Regarding interoperability between cores, the issue becomes much more complicated.  FirstNet's decision, through the process of investigation from its Boulder, CO, labs, is that where there are seams in a network, that's where there is vulnerability and significant security concerns.  That's why the network is being built as it is."
NPSTC appreciates AT&T's commitment and remains committed to supporting the implementation of the FirstNet broadband network.  NPSTC Chair, Ralph Haller, provided an open invitation to AT&T and FirstNet to provide updates at future NPSTC meetings.
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Support provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, Office for Interoperability and Compatibility, and the National Program and Protection Directorate, Office of Emergency Communications.  Points of view or opinions expressed are those of the originators and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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