The TETRA & Critical Communications Association (TCCA) has announced that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a permanent change to its Part 90 rules to permit the unrestricted use of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology for critical communications in the 450-470 MHz and 809-824/854-869 MHz bands.
The rulemaking states: ‘The record is clear that TETRA is a valuable option for licensees requiring a spectrally efficient wireless solution,’ and continues ‘we find that TETRA offers adjacent channel protection that is often better than other narrowband systems currently operating in the LMR bands’.
This permanent change follows on from the temporary waiver issued by the FCC last year. The waiver opened up the US market for products conforming to the TETRA voice and data communications to be available for users requiring critical communications.
The FCC’s ruling is the culmination of many years’ work by the TCCA and other TETRA advocates to bring the benefits of TETRA to critical communications users in North America. Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA, said: ‘This is extremely positive news for the TETRA market. All arguments against the adoption of TETRA in the US appear to have been rejected by the FCC, and we are delighted that critical communications users in the US can now consider TETRA as fully approved.’
Gordon Watling CEO of UK TETRA equipment manufacturer Sepura, commented: ‘This FCC ruling confirms to potential customers in the US that they can look forward to enjoying the benefits that TETRA digital communication solutions offer. TETRA has already been approved for use in over 125 countries, and we have been working hard with the TETRA + Critical Communications Association and our partners for many years to ensure that the nine million Professional Mobile Radio users in the US are also able to choose a proven, open communications standard that has already delivered significant improvements in the quality of communications and productivity for so many of our global customers.’
TETRA contracts have already been announced in Canada, where power company BC Hydro is implementing the first fully operational TETRA network in North America. In the US, the technology has been trialled by New Jersey Transit (NJT), the country’s third largest provider of bus and rail transportation services, and has resulted in the approval to procure a TETRA-based network.
Several TETRA trials are in place in the US, including one with New York City Transit. In addition, there is an ongoing demonstration system involving multiple TETRA manufacturers hosted in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
See also: TETRA scores major breakthrough in the US after FCC approval