There has been much debate and discussion about the introduction of broadband for critical communications – when will the standards be ready, who will be the early adopters, how will the new systems be introduced to ensure continuity of service for critical users?
A new white paper from TCCA presents the current roadmap to operational use of mission critical broadband. The paper is for organisations looking to move away from narrowband networks, or to introduce critical broadband to complement their existing services.
Some Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) operators have plans for dedicated broadband in addition to their narrowband network; other operators are beginning a move from dedicated TETRA or other narrowband networks to mission critical broadband service relying on partnerships with commercial operators.
The white paper considers three phases – the current situation, the next three years to 2021, then from 2022-2030, looking at the timetable of 3GPP Releases and the issue of interoperability.
The window of opportunity for the introduction of critical broadband is up to each country. For example, the USA, UK and South Korea have been early in their planning, while other countries have renewed their narrowband systems to allow flexibility in their transition plans.
Irrespective of the geography however, replacing an existing PPDR network with a new broadband service, or adding critical broadband capability to narrowband services, involves a great deal of planning, coordination and cooperation.
Developing standardised features and functions, engaging service providers, undertaking procurement and operational processes, implementing trusted radio networks and finally convincing the users and management that the new service is fit for purpose takes time, expertise and patience.
For governments and operators looking to eventually transition from TETRA or other narrowband networks to critical broadband services, or to introduce complementary critical broadband services, TCCA recommends the process should be started as early as possible.