Protected spectrum critical for the future of public safety

Date: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 19:36

Regulators must safeguard broadband public protection and disaster relief services
Protected spectrum critical for the future of public safety PHOTO /
With broadband data services over LTE set to become critical to the effectiveness of the emergency services in the next few years, the TCCA is spearheading a campaign to ensure spectrum across Europe is guaranteed for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) use.
For PPDR responders and their organisations, as well as network operators, and the people of Europe that their services protect, it is essential that governments directly control enough spectrum to ensure effective and uninterrupted PPDR communication services, particularly during major incidents.
With critical data features currently being incorporated into the LTE standards, LTE networks could be carrying critical broadband data within five years. However, without sufficient spectrum, these mission-critical services will be rendered ineffective if they have to compete for bandwidth with smartphone-led consumer applications.
There is a narrowing window of opportunity to inform governments and regulators, who will take the decision on spectrum allocation at the World Radiocommunications Conference next year.
Currently, PPDR communications have dedicated spectrum for voice and some data services. The value of this has been proven time and time again when PPDR networks remain fully operational during crisis situations, while commercial mobile networks become overloaded or even cease to function.
Mission critical data communications need to be secure, reliable and available. The PPDR organisations cannot afford the risk of failures in their individual or group communications. In addition, there are an increasing number of data solutions coming to market that need sufficient spectrum to ensure the best possible PPDR service to society.
Some suggest that dedicating spectrum to PPDR can result in that spectrum being underutilised. This does not have to be the case. Spectrum sharing arrangements can ensure optimum use of spectrum but, ultimately, PPDR and other critical communications users need guaranteed access to spectrum in order to evolve their essential service to the citizens of Europe.

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