Reserved Spectrum for Emergency Services Could Improve Public Safety (3/26/14)
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Comments

Reserving spectrum for communications by emergency services would improve public safety, according to research by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). In addition, it could yield a high socioeconomic benefit that could potentially outweigh the opportunity cost of forgoing the sale of this reserved spectrum, said the report.

The report, written ahead of the auction of the 700 MHz spectrum in the United Kingdom and other European countries, found that reserving a portion of the mobile broadband spectrum exclusively for emergency services could potentially lead to an improvement in public safety. The socioeconomic benefits of reserving spectrum are estimated to have a monetary value of 34 billion Euros ($47 billion), far outweighing the opportunity cost of a one-off sale to commercial operators, estimated to be around 6 billion Euros ($8 billion).

The socioeconomic value of dedicated broadband spectrum with respect to safety-related crime reduction was calculated based on the increased ability to intervene; the lives saved due to reduced ambulance response times; mortality and serious accident reduction through enhanced visibility and time spent on the road by traffic police, and other areas.

The use of mobile broadband for field communication within the emergency services improves productivity, enhances the performance of other resources and can bring wider socioeconomic benefits, said the report. Police can communicate safety-critical decisions and file reports on the move, while front-line paramedics could use it for navigation and congestion alerts, to access full information about patients or to interact with a consultant in real time. Other emergency services such as the fire service could obtain in-the-field real time information for buildings, routes, traffic, and other elements that aid situational awareness.

The report was commissioned by the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA). Ten European Union countries were included in the study and it included primary and secondary research within Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) organizations.

Key results across the EU included:

• 5.57 billion Euros in annual socioeconomic benefit could result from an estimated 12 percent reduction in current homicide, serious wounding and sexual assault crime costs given the likelihood of more favorable outcomes;

• 3.98 billion Euros in annual socioeconomic benefit could result from ambulance crews saving an additional 1,858 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims faster, especially within the eight-minute target critical for ‘Type A’ life threatening responses, and from crews being better informed;

• 4.20 billion Euros in potential socioeconomic benefit per year could result if European traffic police could reduce traffic stop times and thereby avoid an estimated total annual 9,800 major serious injuries and some fatalities that could otherwise occur if an officer is engaged on an existing stop.

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