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Quantifying the Costs of a Nationwide Broadband Public Safety Wireless Network



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36th Telecommunications Policy Research Conference Sept 2008 Quantifying the Costs of a Nationwide Broadband Public Safety Wireless Network Ryan Hallahan and Jon M Peha Carnegie Mellon University Abstract The problems facing the public safety wireless communication systems in the US could be significantly reduced or eliminated through the deployment of a single nationwide network that serves all public safety personnel Two major efforts towards such a nationwide network are the Integrated Wireless Network IWN a program only for federal emergency responders and an effort by the FCC to create a public private partnership in the 700MHz band that serves state and local emergency responders the future of both projects is uncertain due in part to concerns surrounding cost To inform these concerns this paper presents the first version of a fully transparent model to estimate cost for two fundamental approaches a public safety only network and a public private partnership which serves both public safety and commercial subscribers We apply this general model to four scenarios 1 a public safety only network that only serves all public safety personnel i e local state and federal on 10MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band 2 a public private partnership that serves all public safety personnel and commercial subscribers on 20MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band and 3 4 a network that only serves all public safety personnel in either of the two bands that may be used for the federal only IWN project 168MHz 414MHz In each of these scenarios we consider networks that carry voice only data only and both voice and data We demonstrate the inefficiencies of the existing public safety infrastructure by showing that a single nationwide network could be built in its place with a small fraction of the tower sites and spectrum In fact the cost of building an entire nationwide system is comparable to what is likely to be spent in just a few years on the existing infrastructure More specifically



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