TCCA welcomes new EC focus on digital comms as support for public safety spectrum

New EC President Jean-Claude Juncker wants pan-EU use of digital technologies covering all sectors of the economy and the public sector to be enhanced across the EU and sees combating cross-border crime and terrorism as a common European responsibility

TCCA welcomes new EC focus on digital comms as support for public safety spectrum

The TCCA has welcomed the stated commitment of new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to make much better use of the great opportunities offered by digital technologies.

In his New Start for Europe document, President Juncker states: “.... we will need to have the courage to break down national silos in telecoms regulation, in copyright and data protection legislation, in the management of radio waves and in the application of competition law. …  Enhancing the use of digital technologies and online services should become a horizontal policy, covering all sectors of the economy and of the public sector.”

Emergency services have an increasing demand for access to mobile broadband data services for their PPDR operations. The establishment of mission critical mobile broadband data services ideally requires a frequency band located below 1 GHz.

An opportunity is opening at 700MHz. This band is today inter alia used by terrestrial broadcasting services, but is expected to be shared or ultimately fully re-allocated to mobile service at the World Radiocommunications Conference in November 2015 (WRC-15).

Jeppe Jepsen, director of broadband spectrum for the TCCA, said: “Mission-critical broadband services need spectrum to be effective. The PPDR community must not be put in a situation where they are competing with the mass market smartphone users for bandwidth to communicate.”

London School of Economics analysis of the use of mission critical broadband by emergency services has estimated a socioeconomic benefit for the use of 2x10MHz 700MHz of €20.98 billion p.a. that encompasses 60% of the European population across 10 selected countries representing three regions. This figure is higher if it is extrapolated to cover the EU28 figure of 500 million people, yielding a socioeconomic benefit of €34.94 billion p.a.

The PPDR community, through the EU Council’s Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) has worked jointly with the spectrum regulator community (CEPT-ECC) and concluded in an ECC Report that a minimum of 2 x 10MHz spectrum is required for mobile broadband data services, with additional spectrum required to implement voice services, air ground air, direct mode operation and ad hoc networks.

President Juncker also states: “Combating cross-border crime and terrorism is a common European responsibility. We need to crack down on organised crime, such as human trafficking, smuggling and cybercrime. We must tackle corruption; and we must fight terrorism and counter radicalisation.”

The TCCA argues that to be successful, we must ensure our PPDR first responders are properly supported.

The TCCA defines mission critical communication as something which is supplied by special communications systems where the reliability, availability, stability and security of mobile communication is vital to ensure continuous availability of functions critical for society.

Typical users of mission critical communication are law enforcement and emergency services for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) operations, including fire and rescue and emergency medical services.

Mission critical communications include communication hardware, software, as well as radio frequency band (spectrum) capacity to transmit and share information between field units and command centres.

The TCCA represents TETRA, the most successful mission critical communications voice and narrowband data mobile standard in the world. The TCCA is supporting the further development of the standard and promoting its increasing adoption by professional users in a growing number of market sectors across all continents.

For critical broadband data communications, the TCCA is driving the development of common global mobile solutions, based on required extensions to the 3GPP LTE standards.

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