The state of New Mexico awarded a $2 million public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) contract for hardware to General Dynamics Mission Systems. Aviat Networks was awarded a $240,000 contract for backhaul equipment for the early builder network, funded with a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant.

The General Dynamics contract also includes test devices and implementation services, although New Mexico technical and administration staff will have full control of the project, said Jacqueline Miller, New Mexico deputy secretary for the Department of Information Technology.

In addition to LTE infrastructure, General Dynamics will supply routing and switching equipment required to connect to the Adams County, Colorado, core network. Earlier this year, New Mexico said the Adams County core will serve as the host for the New Mexico broadband network based on technical and financial comparisons. General Dynamics also supplied the public-safety LTE early builder network in Adams County.

New Mexico officials have established connectivity to Adams County and performed initial testing but the state still needs to configure local equipment. Intergovernmental agreements between the state and Adams County are in the signature process, Miller said.

We have done some extensive cost analysis at this point and rate development for the host core, she said. We are still gathering more information. We have estimated some backhaul and maintenance costs. Now that were getting numbers, we will plug them into the model.

Miller said the state is sharing the data with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

Three microwave links will provide backhaul for the LTE network and are being deployed specifically for LTE. Those microwave connections will help expand coverage for the statewide VHF LMR voice system as well, she said.

The state is also evaluating multiple device vendors with the intent to purchase end-user devices from a variety of providers to allow testing of devices from different manufacturers, said Miller.

New Mexico plans to launch initial service in Santa Fe as a testbed by the end of July. Dona Ana County in the southern part of the state will come online in early August, with Eddy County following later in August. A mobile unit is planned to be delivered in September.

Work for New Mexico's $38.7 million BTOP grant must be completed by September, followed by a 90-day closeout period for payments, Miller said.

Were driving on full steam ahead, Miller said. The relationship with Adams County has been great. We continue to share information with the other early builder projects.

Source: Sandra Wendelken, “New Mexico Selects General Dynamics for Public-Safety LTE Network,” Radio Resource Magazine, 6/30/2015