Tammy Waitt, American Security Today’s editorial director caught up Bill Bratton, former police commissioner of New York & Boston and former chief of LAPD, for an exclusive interview last week, to outline Verizon’s $97 million commitment to help secure the Big Game on Sunday.
To comprehend the enormity of the project, Mr. Bratton explained that Verizon began over two years ago to develop a ‘Command Center on steroids, if you will,’ built upon Verizon’s industry-leading 4G LTE network for public safety, which he toured on Tuesday.
“This is a good opportunity for me to see first hand the some of the new equipment, techniques and personnel that goes into an undertaking of this magnitude,” explained Commissioner Bratton.
Verizon spent $97 million in ramping up services in advance of the big game which will remain fully functional and permanent improvements to the area for public safety and all interconnected communication capabilities.
A project that includes over 650 solutions in network enhancements to the existing infrastructure, in building main cells, small cells – “everything you can think of that will be permanent for use after the Super Bowl to support our city,” added Michelle Kababik, Director of Network Operations at Verizon Wireless.
The Command Center, is actually made up of two parts:
The Network Assurance Operations Center that monitors the network 24/7 on a regular basis, but this is a very much enhanced for realtime access to anything that could be going on with the network, before, during and after the game.
The Systems Performance Center, which optimizes the network, for instance, in order to watch where crowds go – so they can address capacity in certain situations.
“Approximately 100 engineers are working the command center right now, as well as field engineers stationed downtown in strategic locations so that we can respond in realtime and react in minutes to ensure our customers have the best experience,” said Ms. Kababik.
Throughout the Atlanta area, enhancements include:
- Laying 350+ miles of fiber throughout Atlanta
- Installing close to 30 new permanent cell sites
- Installing 300+ permanent small cells and capacity enhancement
- Adding additional capacity in close to 150 existing cell sites
- Installing close to 50 in-building solutions to enhance performance around the city such as popular hotels and shopping centers
- Installing 10 small cells in the Home Depot Backyard to enhance the pre-game experience
Verizon has worked tirelessly to coordinate & collaborate with 24/7 network monitoring and vastly increasing capabilities of prioritization and preemption for public safety professionals, (federal, state, local law enforcement, fire, EMS and more) to access a dedicated network in the event of a critical incident or emergency.
Verizon’s public safety-private core (which was launched in March of 2018), rendered many significant features to public safety professionals, including improved security, preemption and priority, traffic segmentation as well as enhanced service control and management, without any extra cost for public safety customers.
This dedicated private core is the focal point of Verizon’s 4G/LTE network for public safety.
(Bill Bratton, former police commissioner of New York & Boston and former chief of LAPD, discusses Verizon’s public safety private core designed to enhance Verizon’s industry-leading 4G LTE network for public safety. Courtesy of Verizon and YouTube.)
Since, it is linked to Radio Access Network (RAN) of Verizon, so it utilizes different spectrum in numerous bands like 800 MHz Cellular, 700 MHz, 1.7/2.1 GHz AWS and 1.9 GHz PCS bands.
The public safety core isolates, the public safety mobile users’ data traffic from that of commercial users across its 4G/LTE network.
Further, the users of Public safety network will get their data instantly considered as public safety along with prioritized access at the cell phone tower as well as across the wireless network.
Because of MBP, public safety users will get priority service with regard to data transmissions.
Additionally, Verizon would allow the public safety customers to access preemption services to keep them communicating when they require it urgently.
Also, due to preemption, Verizon will be able to autonomously reallocate network resources from its commercial Internet/data users to first responders in case of an unfavorable event when the capacity of network reaches to maximum.
“For example, think of an HOV lane on the expressway” explained Commissioner Bratton.
“This would serve as a dedicated ‘lane’ accessible to public safety professionals only, should a major or catastrophic incident incident occur.
“I’ve spent a lot of time traveling talking to public safety & law enforcement organizations on the growing capabilities of Verizon and their constant efforts to increase network performance for public safety, police, fire, health & hospitals.”
At the time of this interview, Commissioner Bratton was looking forward to his scheduled tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Thursday.
Asked about new threat technologies such as concerns for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s, commonly known as a drones), Commissioner Bratton noted that back in 2014 when the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, just outside of New York City, UAV’s were not a significant concern.
However, he noted that although today, UAV’s can pose serious threats and that public safety is working to address those needs, that Atlanta’s open air stadium, and “with what that stadium is capable of doing with that gorgeous roof, the issues of drones would not be an issue.”
A need that’s become increasingly important over these last years highlighted Commissioner Bratton, as the number of spot phone type devices has increased exponentially, their potential to overload any cities system at any given time – is there, especially at a time of emergency, for instance God Forbid a repeat of a 9/11 type event were to occur at any city in the country.
With prioritization &preemption, Verizon is meeting law enforcements needs and will continue to do so in the future.
Prioritization over commercial/public needs in the event of an emergency, and preemption if necessary as a form of last resort.
(Verizon honors first responders in their 2019 Super Bowl ad featuring Anthony Lynn. Courtesy of Verizon, USA TODAY and YouTube. Posted on Feb 3, 2019.)
Every time someone shares to Twitter or Facebook with #AllOurThanks from this website via the share buttons, or shares any Verizon social post with #AllOurThanks on Facebook or Twitter, or posts on Twitter with #AllOurThanks, between 1/18/19 and 2/8/19, Verizon will donate $1, up to $1.5 Million, to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s First Responder Outreach program.
(First responders answer the call. Our job is to make sure they can get it. See all 12 stories at https://AllOurThanks.com. Courtesy of Verizon and YouTube. Posted on Jan 18, 2019.)
“Thanks in part to Verizon’s command center for communication coordination and collaboration throughout the vast network of public safety professionals responsible for securing the event – customers, customers, fans not be worried about the ability of public safety to protect them during the game,” said Bratton.
“But also, to enhance their viewing experience ensure whether selfies, snap streams, calls, texts and all the things people do with their devices today, that they will be able to do all those things without interruptions, and further add to their enjoyment of the game.”
“From a public safety perspective, they can watch the game and public safety will have their back.”
“Verizon, with the capacity they have – and now enhanced for this event, fans don’t have to think about the ability of public safety to protect them during the game, ensuring fans, athletes, teams, and attendees can focus on the game — enhancing their viewing experience with all the new technologies that afford them different ways to enjoy and interact – without interruption.”
(“At the Gary Sinise Foundation, we serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.” Courtesy of the Gary Sinise Foundation and YouTube. Posted on Dec 20, 2018.)
Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more.