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Notes from the Field: Leveraging Broadband Communications to Improve Public Safety

NCJ Number
Shing Lin
Date Published
September 2019
1 page

This NIJ "Notes from the Field" article presents the challenges of implementing broadband communications as experienced in Harris County, Texas.


In this article from NIJ's "Notes from the Field" series, which allows leading voices in the field to share their strategies for responding to the most pressing issues on America's streets today, Shing Lin, Chief Technology Officer, Harris County Public Safety Technology Services, describes the lessons learned from transitioning to a broadband network. In Houston, they have been working to improve public safety from a connectivity standpoint since 2015 with the Band 14 LTE network, which is now more commonly known as the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Harris County was one of the original five FirstNet builders piloting Band 14 deployments to test broadband in public safety environments. Through the Band 14 implementation pilot, Harris County completed a network that covered 1,800 square miles and improved connectivity for first responders. Across the county, 40 fixed cell sites were established and modems were placed into select patrol vehicles, turning them into mobile hotspots.