Case Study: First County With Public Safety Broadband

Harris County was the first U.S. jurisdiction to launch an exclusive public safety wireless broadband to enhance interoperability among first responders.


March 2017 Update: In 2015, Harris County commissioners voted to use $5.8 million in local funds to expand the county’s public-safety network to develop additional sites. The network was originally funded by Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants under FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband initiative. Harris County is anticipating 93 LTE sites by third quarter 2018, according to the county’s website.

SCHAUMBURG, ILL. – originally posted April 23, 2012 – Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI), a leader in the development of Public Safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, devices, applications and services, has been awarded a $4 million contract to expand the Harris County, Texas Public Safety LTE wide area broadband network. Seven LTE sites will be added to the network for a total of 13 LTE sites delivering enhanced video and data capabilities along with expanded interoperability with Harris County’s existing ASTRO® 25 Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system.

The broadband system, which will comply with standards adopted for the national broadband plan, will provide increased communications initially for the Port region and eventually throughout the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) Region. Harris County first responders will be prepared to meet new threats at the ports and on the street with powerful new Public Safety LTE devices connected to a multimedia command center on an always-on Public Safety LTE broadband network. The county plans to add Motorola’s LEX 700 Mission Critical Handheld to the system when the LTE device begins shipping later this year.


  • Along with adding seven LTE sites, the Harris County broadband network will be expanded to include:
  • The first phase of the broadband network has been completed and accepted by Harris County. Motorola successfully achieved milestones on the initial six-site system, validating in the field that the Public Safety LTE solution meets the interoperability requirements of the Texas Department of Public Safety for a regional LTE network.
  • The existing LTE network is operational and providing wireless broadband service to vehicles, laptops and handheld devices. Real-time video, including streaming to vehicles and tablets and from vehicles to handheld devices, was among the applications demonstrated by Harris County earlier this month for officials throughout the county and region, including public safety officials from Dallas-Fort Worth, Irving, Baytown and the State of Texas.
  • The broadband network is interoperable with the Harris County ASTRO 25 system, allowing LTE handheld users to collaborate using PTT voice communications with others on either the LTE or P25 network. This capability was also successfully demonstrated in the field this month for Texas public safety officials.
  • With more than 50 sites, the Harris County ASTRO 25 LMR system provides interoperable communications among more than 170 Public Safety agencies and more than 65,000 users in 13 counties. These agencies will eventually be able to tie into the Harris County LTE system, further expanding LTE to P25 interoperability throughout the region while offsetting costs associated with building multiple independent networks.
  • Harris County is maximizing its return on investment by leveraging Motorola’s comprehensive suite of Public Safety LTE Lifecycle Services throughout the system design, build-out and start-up phases of operation.

Why the Enhanced Interoperability Solution was Seminal for Public Safety:

Robert Cavazos, director, broadband services, Information Technology-Mobility, Harris County, Texas

“When looking for an LTE/broadband solution, we took the same approach as we did when looking for a Public Safety Land Mobile Radio solution. We wanted a standards-based, reliable solution designed for the special mission critical needs of public safety. An LTE solution that would allow us to leverage carrier networks for roaming and that could be integrated with our existing P25 LMR network was an important consideration. The goal is enhanced interoperability between our public safety and first responder networks and a robust broadband solution for public safety that would carry us well into the future. The resulting solution will enable Harris County to provide enhanced priority of services to first responders at a granular level, ensuring bandwidth availability for a given person and situation. We considered this crucial for public safety.”

Bob Schassler, senior vice president, Radio Solutions, Motorola Solutions

“Harris County, Texas continues to be at the forefront of Public Safety communications with the expansion of the county’s interoperable Public Safety LTE network. The addition of Motorola Solutions’ real-time video and live data solutions, along with the capability for LTE to P25 PTT voice communications, demonstrates Harris County’s continued leadership in providing first responders throughout the region with the most advanced Public Safety communication systems to help enhance safety and security.”