Mission Critical LTE Less of a Technical Thing

Author:Radio China       Time:2019-12-05

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When people are feeling so comfortable touting how significant changes 5G is bringing or will bring to our lives, it is jaw dropping for many to realize that those who are safeguarding the communities still rely on 2G equivalent communication technologies. First responders such as police and firefighters in Europe and America started to use digital communications systems of TETRA or P25 protocols in late 1990s. Police Digital Trunking (PDT) started to roll out in China in 2010. There are many more countries still in the process of going digital. Can everybody simply hop on the 4G/5G bandwagon and enjoy the technical feast? In a perfect world, probably yes.


In America, there was one decade of effort to persuade the Congress to pass legislation establishing a reliable, dedicated and national high-speed network for first responders after the September 11th disaster in 2001. Partnering with AT&T, the First Responder Network Authority, created in February 2012, launched FirstNet in early 2018. In the U.K., Emergency Services Network (ESN) in the very beginning in 2014 set a challenging target to migrate blue light users to LTE. By early 2019, ESN was £3bn over budget and the 4G LTE system switch-on was delayed to the end of 2022, while many skeptics believe that 2026 is a more likely deadline.


No matter how their effort lead to up till now, as forerunners to adopt mission critical LTE, US and UK government actually help the rest of the world to shorten the learning curve. Here are some takeaways. First, nationwide mission critical LTE is a top-down initiative involving legislation to establish a strong cross-department overseeing body and to secure the right spectrum and proper initial funding. Second, thorough public consultation is a must before actually drafting the RFP. Third, the network in the long run should be economically self-sufficient, at least partially, and public-private partnership is a valid option. Fourth, don’t rush into it.






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