ITU Passes Harmonized PPDR Spectrum Resolution at WRC-15
Wednesday, November 25, 2015 | Comments

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) passed Resolution 646 during the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015, concluding this week in Geneva. The resolution identified spectrum in the 694 – 894 MHz frequency band to facilitate mobile broadband communications for mission-critical emergency services.

Resolution 646 takes into consideration “the growing telecommunication and radiocommunication needs of public protection agencies and organizations, including those dealing with emergency situations and disaster relief, that are vital to the maintenance of law and order, protection of life and property, disaster relief and emergency response.”

The resolution is an international agreement under the U.N. and ITU that encourages administrations to use harmonized frequency ranges for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) operations to the maximum extent possible and to consider the 694 – 894 MHz range when planning for PPDR applications with an emphasis on broadband.

The resolution recognizes that narrowband and wideband systems will continue to be used to meet PPR requirements, but that there is a growing need for broadband applications to support improved data and multimedia capabilities. These require higher data rates and higher capacity, and appropriate spectrum from this harmonized range may need to be made available on a national basis.

Administrations may wish to promote interoperability and interworking among communications systems used for PPDR, both nationally and for cross-border operations in emergency situations and for disaster relief. Clearly defined frequency ranges enable improved spectrum management and planning, and harmonized spectrum increases the potential for interoperability and standardization of equipment. The resulting economies of scale in terms of research, development and manufacturing lead to a more cost-efficient and competitive market, the resolution said.

“In today’s world, the need for cross-border cooperation among PPDR agencies has never been more apparent,” said Phil Kidner, CEO of the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA). “Many, many organisations responsible for delivering and supporting PPDR emergency response have been working for several years to secure harmonised spectrum for critical broadband applications. We would like to thank the spectrum regulators of the world for this resolution — it is a treaty between the 196 U.N. countries and therefore a very important global step.”

ITU said the resolution is a significant first step and efforts on both regional and national levels are needed to reach the objective of internationally harmonized spectrum dedicated at the national level. Several countries have allocated spectrum already, including Australia, Canada, France, Korea and the United States. Each of these countries allocated the spectrum as a result of natural disasters or terrorist attacks and all are in alignment with this resolution.

In Europe, the next step will be for the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), which represents 48 European countries, to complete the ongoing work and reach an ECC Decision. The CEPT decision is expected in the first half of 2016.




 
 
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