PSTA Partners with TCCA, Different Views on U.S. LTE Interoperability Progress
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | Comments

The Public Safety Technology Alliance (PSTA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with TCCA. Both groups are focused on public-safety standards and open interoperability, executives said.

TCCA is a decades-old global association representing TETRA and broadband interests with a focus on public safety and other vertical critical communications markets. PSTA formed last year to promote public-safety open standards and counts several former First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) executives on its leadership team.

PSTA Executive Director TJ Kennedy and TCCA Chief Executive Tony Gray said the goal of the partnership is to ensure single standards internationally. Both men touted the mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) Plugtests Event in Texas last year and the recently completed remote event as pushing interoperability for the industry.

Gray noted concerns with the U.S. market and the FirstNet rollout without Long Term Evolution (LTE) interoperability between carriers, as well as MCPTT interoperability. “FirstNet could be compromised if carriers have different MCPTT services, and you don’t interoperate,” Gray said. “Then, you made the same barrier you were trying to get away from. The situation developing in the United States could be very unfortunate, and I hope the rest of the world is watching.”

Kennedy downplayed the issue of LTE and MCPTT interoperability in the United States. “I continue to see at every conference that this issue that people keep throwing out there will probably turn out to be a much smaller issue than we think it is,” Kennedy said. “I think it’s working through because people are following 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) standards. We see participation from many other carriers on this issue, and things have moved forward.”

Maggie Goodrich, chair of PSTA’s board of directors, said interoperability issues and bringing to market what public safety needs are reasons for the new organization, and the group will work to educate public safety on what it should request from suppliers and standards groups.

“The landscape for operators and users is changing, with interoperability and critical applications high on the agenda, and integration with legacy narrowband technologies such as TETRA and Project 25 (P25) remaining key,” said a statement from the organizations.

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