Verizon has announced that it plans to create and build out a separate, private network core made exclusively for the nation's emergency personnel and first responders. This new core is essentially an entirely separate network, but carries all of the same features as Verizon's commercial core, used for its customers, along with some others. The new private network core is able to organize and route network access requests and calls in order to optimize first responders' connections, and includes a function that boots personnel onto Verizon's commercial network with priority above normal paying users, when necessary, and does so at no extra charge.
Along with the new network core, Verizon will be installing new network equipment nationwide to support the influx of traffic on both voice and data networks that becoming a provider for emergency services will bring. The company is also planning to add in new features and bolster existing features catered to first responders. The company's take on push-to-talk, for example, can already integrate with radio services, and the company is planning to expand this feature as part of the network buildout for its own emergency response network core. On top of building out the actual network, Verizon is planning to partner with device makers to manufacture hardware specifically suited to this network. To be precise, that means that the hardware will make heavy use of spectrum band 14 and integrate with existing radio services in that band.
Verizon's new solution is competing with FirstNet, a first responder and emergency personnel network that the company was originally fighting for the contract for against AT&T. AT&T eventually won out in that conflict, and got the contract to develop and maintain FirstNet. Despite the rivalry and potential enmity between the two services, Verizon has stated that its program will be fully company-funded, and will be usable alongside FirstNet. States will not have to opt out of FirstNet or deny the federal funding that comes with FirstNet in order to use Verizon's service, which means that the two will likely be interoperable. Verizon did not state when it plans to begin rolling out its FirstNet competitor.