Florida first responders’ communication network gets big update

Firefighter Coats and Hard Hats
The update comes after the Legislature approved a $451M contract renewal.

Florida first responders can now access the most tech-advanced communications system available with a new partnership from L3Harris Technologies and FirstNet from AT&T — the result of a $451 million contract renewal approved by the state legislature last spring.

The new system by L3Harris will combine its Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) with FirstNet, the only network built with and for America’s first responders.

“This partnership with the State of Florida and FirstNet provides Florida’s first responders with the most technologically advanced communications system available,” said Nino DiCosmo, president of public safety and professional communications for L3Harris.

“This first-of-its-kind deployment of FirstNet will help connect first responders across the state with reliable, modern communications tools needed to stay mission-ready and perform at their best.”

Florida emergency personnel will now have interoperable access to both P25 Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and LTE-based FirstNet technologies. The system will complement mission-critical agency communications, free-up LMR capacity by moving nonessential communications to FirstNet and allow team members who travel outside the SLERS footprint to stay connected across the country.

“As America’s public safety partner, FirstNet is helping solve long-standing communications challenges,” said Jason Porter, president of public sector and FirstNet program at AT&T.

“This initiative provides Florida’s first responders with mission-trusted interoperable communications and furthers their situational awareness with rich information from diverse sources. And, while commercial networks remain available to public safety, we continue to see FirstNet grow — both in Florida and across the country — because it offers distinct advantages from those commercial offerings.”

The funding approved by the Legislature was directed to the Department of Management Services to purchase new L3Harris radios and upgrade its system to L3Harris P25 Phase 2 technology to improve communication of Florida’s 11,000 first responders.

Over the last two decades, L3Harris’ SLERS has reliably provided first responders with critical communications services through 15 hurricanes and more than 10 tropical storms.

L3Harris’ Public Safety and Professional Communications has more than 80 years of experience in public safety and professional communications and supports more than 500 systems around the world.

“FirstNet was built for first responders by first responders,” said Jeremy Zollo, chief market engagement officer, First Responder Network Authority. “The FirstNet Authority worked hand-in hand with Florida’s first responders to build a resilient network designed to help them save lives and protect communities.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


One comment

  • Fluix

    June 1, 2022 at 4:53 am

    Following that second-straight year bonus of $1,000 to first responders throughout Florida, now we have a new renewal policy. Looks like Florida authorities understand that showing at least little appreciation to people risking their lives every day is a good gesture.

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