New International Critical Communications Group Forms
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Comments

The International Governmental Operators’ Forum (IGOF), a new initiative to advance coordination among national critical communications operators, was launched with an inaugural conference held in Coventry, United Kingdom. About 35 participants from 19 public administrations of 17 countries gathered to discuss the most important challenges facing the critical communications operator community.

The aim of the forum is to leverage opportunities to define and implement a common and coordinated approach toward addressing the issues. The IGOF kick-off meeting was organized by German nationwide TETRA operator BDBOS and Virve, Finland’s nationwide public-safety network operator, with support from TCCA.

IGOF is an independent and informal group of high-level leaders of public critical communications organizations from all over the world. IGOF will serve as an advisory committee to TCCA and other interested parties on broadband-related issues in critical communications. This new TCCA initiative will help raise the visibility of governmental users of critical communications in the market and reinforce their influence, a statement said.

“TCCA is proud to support the activities of IGOF and looks forward to working closely with its members to help drive advances in international critical communications,” said Tony Gray, TCCA chief executive.

The first meeting included updates from France, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States on the latest developments in their critical communications activities. First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Acting CEO Ed Parkinson spoke at the event. 

Security in broadband environments has the highest priority for the group with special focus on hybrid networks and devices as well as cyber threats. IGOF members expect their forum to facilitate the exchange of information and experience with their peers, critical communications users, industry and other interested parties. The group will also aim to offer support and consultancy to TCCA and other interested organizations on broadband-related issues in critical communications regarding legal and regulatory environments. Future technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G network slicing will be another main topic addressed by IGOF.

The group will meet again this year at the FirstNet leadership forum in Boulder, Colorado. The dates were not immediately available.

In 2017, FirstNet organized the first International Public Safety Broadband forum for government leaders, with the second meeting held last year in conjunction with Public Safety Communications Europe (PSCE). The two groups share similar goals, but the International Public Safety Broadband Leaders forum is self organized by government leaders and only for government participants.

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