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Emergency workers demand protection for radio spectrum

An association representing emergency workers has called for greater protections of radio spectrum in order to ensure public safety is not put at risk.

The Tetra Critical Communications Association (TCCA) said that it was starting a campaign to ensure spectrum across Europe is guaranteed for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) use.

It said that for emergency workers, “it is essential that governments directly control enough spectrum to ensure effective and uninterrupted PPDR communication services, particularly during major incidents.”

It added that with critical data features currently being incorporated into the LTE standards, LTE networks could be carrying critical broadband data within five years. But without sufficient spectrum, these mission-critical services will be rendered ineffective if they have to compete for bandwidth with smartphone-led consumer applications, it said.

“Mission critical data communications need to be secure, reliable and available,” the association said in a statement. “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.”

It said that while some in the industry have argued 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,” the TCCA said.

Image: Flickr/Gwire

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