Pilot

NY Pilot of FirstNet Public Safety Network Enhances Operational Readiness and Emergency Response

Feb. 15, 2022
Pilot tests public safety's dedicated communications platform's ability to provide reliable, modern communications as part of the New York Power Authority's LTE wireless network technology pilot project.

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a successful collaboration between the New York Power Authority and AT&T to pilot FirstNet, built with AT&T, as part of a NYPA private wireless Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology pilot project. FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to America's first responders and the extended public safety community. The NYPA project aims to build a secure, robust and reliable LTE network and enhance the statewide utility's readiness and operational and programmatic capabilities. As an organization that could be called upon to help support New York's public safety in day-to-day operations and during emergency response, NYPA is evaluating FirstNet's ability to equip its employees with new capabilities and reliable access to critical information while in the field, allowing them to better serve New York State and advance New York's energy system resiliency goals.

"By taking initiative in modernizing our emergency response systems, New York is leading the way in innovation by taking advantage of new and existing technologies like FirstNet," said Governor Hochul. "This pilot program will help ensure that our electric systems are ready to meet tomorrow's energy reliability challenges. I am proud of this new partnership, as we develop a new and modern emergency response system."

FirstNet is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), an independent agency within the federal government. FirstNet is designed to solve long-standing communications challenges faced by the public safety community, allowing first responders to communicate with one another during everyday situations, big events or emergencies.

"Energy security and communications go hand-in-hand, so we at NYPA are pleased to leverage our utility experience alongside the expertise of AT&T for this critical emergency communications pilot effort. The ultimate goal of this project is to enhance NYPA's operational and programmatic capabilities and leverage all the benefits of the ever-evolving innovation in wireless technology for the benefit of all New Yorkers.", said Justin E. Driscoll, interim president and CEO, NYPA.

The pilot project took place at NYPA's Blenheim-Gilboa's Pumped Storage Power project. It builds on NYPA's previous success to pilot private LTE wireless network capabilities announced last year.

The LTE wireless network pilot program is targeted to complement several critical NYPA initiatives including its robust communication backbone and sensor deployment programs. The US$153 million communication backbone program aims to replace NYPA's existing point-to-point circuits to manage the increased data flow from the deployment of intelligent sensors. Since 2017, NYPA has been working to install state-of-the-art sensor devices to monitor the health of its transmission and generation assets and to further enable the capabilities of its Integrated Smart Operations Center (iSOC).

In addition to testing communications on the FirstNet network, NYPA has previously tested the applications using sub-gig spectrums Band 8 (Anterix) and Band 71 (Omega Wireless) with Nokia. NYPA is also testing additional spectrums Band 8, Band 48 (CBRS), and Band 53 (GlobalStar) at its LTE lab in White Plains.

The project also supports NYPA's end-to-end digitization goal which is one of the foundational pillars of NYPA's VISION2030 Plan

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