New TCCA Report Outlines Broadband PPDR Spectrum Status in Europe
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | Comments
A new report from the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA) outlined the latest developments for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) spectrum in Europe and the Middle East. Recent decisions narrowed the spectrum ranges for PPDR broadband allocations.

Last year, a report proposed the concept of “flexible harmonization” using 700/800 MHz and 400 MHz spectrum to enable an efficient implementation of BB-PPDR within Conference of Postal and Telecommunications (CEPT). During its June meeting in Sweden, the CEPT Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) plenary approved ECC DEC(16)02, which, for the 48 CEPT countries, narrows the 700/800 MHz option to only the 700 MHz range.

For a harmonized PPDR spectrum allocation, the decision covers band 28 (2 by 30 megahertz) from 703 – 733 MHz and 758 – 788 MHz already covered by ECC Decision (15)01. However, some countries have decided to auction this spectrum for commercial use while some countries are willing to allocate it partly to PPDR organizations and services.

Additional 700 MHz 2-by-5 megahertz and 2-by-3 megahertz slots were identified for PPDR and are outlined in the report. The 700 MHz range is considered the core frequency band for interoperability, the report said.

As a consequence of the adoption of ECC/DEC (16)02 for broadband PPDR, ECC amended Decision ECC/DEC (08)05 for PPDR in the spectrum range 380 –470 MHz to restrict its scope to narrowband and wideband PPDR systems.

The 400 MHz range can offer national flexibility for additional spectrum to the 700 MHz range; therefore, countries may allocate one of two sub-ranges in the 450 – 470 MHz range. The two defined ranges are 450.5 – 456 MHz/460.5-466 MHz and 452.0 – 457.5 MHz/462.0 – 467.5 MHz. The 410 – 430 MHz sub-band was discarded because of a lack of technical conditions even though some Eastern European countries have indicated interest in that band, the report said.

Earlier this year, France allocated 700 MHz spectrum for a PPDR dedicated network with plans to add 400 MHz spectrum in the future.

The 700 MHz band is in use by broadcasters and must be vacated before PPDR or commercial use is possible. The Europe Commission (EC) proposed draft Decision [3] of the European Parliament and of the council on the use of the 470 – 790 MHz frequency band in the European Union (EU). The draft decision covers two main issues:
• Switch off broadcasting no later than 30 June, 2020 with a suggested grace period of two years.
• Allow national use of mobile downlink in 470 – 694 MHz when not disturbing digital terrestrial TV (DTT) reception.

In April, the commission adopted and published Decision (EU) 2016/687 [4], specifying the least restrictive technical conditions for using the 700 MHz band. PPDR is listed as a potential user of parts of the 698 – 736 MHz band paired with the 753 – 791 MHz band. The decision does not recognize PPDR specific spurious emission limits for DTT channel 48 protection other than those in ECC DEC (16)02.

Allocation of specific spectrum will be subject to national decisions.

For the Middle East, the report said the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) approved band 68 at 698 – 728 MHz/753 – 783 MHz. The out of band emissions into broadband channel 48 must be addressed, and some field trials are underway.

“The PPDR community is convinced that both harmonized and dedicated spectrum are needed for broadband networks as the safest platform for future essential services,” the report summary said. “Harmonization of spectrum will enable a vibrant, innovative and price-efficient supply sector, which can only be achieved on a global and regional scale, and dedicated PPDR allocations will fulfill special national requirements.”

The TCCA paper presents the status of spectrum identification for broadband PPDR within Europe and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) region one.

The full report is available here.

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