communications tower (noolwlee/Shutterstock.com)

Massachusetts taps Verizon for public-safety wireless services

Massachusetts has authorized Verizon to offer public safety wireless devices and services to its agencies, including access to a virtualized 4G LTE core and preemption technology.

In December 2017, the commonwealth opted in to FirstNet, the nationwide broadband public safety wireless network currently being rolled out by AT&T. The Massachusetts contract is the first state and local multivendor procurement in the nation for public safety-grade wireless data services, Verizon officials said.  

Public safety users will be able to talk, text, share multimedia and communicate in real time, regardless of their selected public safety-grade wireless carrier, plan or device.

In June 2018, Massachusetts issued a request for quotations for public safety wireless broadband data services as part of its statewide network services contract. After a competitive procurement process, two vendors -- AT&T/FirstNet and Verizon Wireless -- were selected and are currently authorized to provide public safety-grade data services and devices via the new statewide contract. 

Massachusetts departments, agencies and other organizations that substantially provide public safety or first responder services can use the new contract to purchase wireless data services and devices. The list of eligible entities is available in the contract user guide.

“The ability for public safety users throughout Massachusetts to communicate seamlessly while responding to incidents is of the utmost importance,” said Kerry Collins, undersecretary for forensic science and technology at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. “Bringing real-time communications to our first responders enables us to better protect and serve.”

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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