Frequentis-Led Consortium Concludes Pilot Tests of BroadWay Project
Thursday, August 11, 2022 | Comments

After several years of development work, the Frequentis-led BroadPort consortium successfully completed the Ferry Fire Trial in Malaga, Spain, to prove the practicality of its multicountry, safety-critical broadband communication network solution in a real-world scenario. The large-scale exercise brought together more than 40 public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) organizations from across Europe, as well as eight local Spanish authorities.

On a summer day in Malaga port the temperature hit 35 degrees Celsius and the Malaga control center began receiving several simultaneous calls to report smoke rising from a ferry. This was shortly followed by an emergency call from the crew confirming that fire had broken out onboard. The scenario is threatening, but fortunately it was only a trial testing the next generation of safety-critical communication technology. The trial was executed across several countries for a pan-European, safety-critical broadband communication network called "BroadNet", which the European Union intends to establish.

The Horizon 2020 project Broadway aims to lead the way towards a common, pan-European, mission-critical broadband communications network that will enable operational mobility including closer cooperation across political borders and help save lives in the event of disasters.

The EU launched the project to overcome limitations in the interoperability of individual digital radio systems for emergency service first responders and the restrictions of narrowband technology (mostly TETRA), which currently only allows the transmission of voice and short data but does not permit safety-critical video transmission or the use of other mission-critical multimedia.

"The integration of interoperable components, from networks to terminals and applications, is a milestone for mission-critical communication in Europe, but at the same time is also a great challenge," says Charlotte Rösener, head of mission-critical services at Frequentis leading the BroadPort consortium. "It is therefore crucial for us to test live operations with the PPDR organisations; thanks to their valuable feedback we have been able to incorporate their experience and input into further development."

At the start of October 2019, four consortia were selected for the first design phase of project BroadWay. In April 2021, the prototype phase, three remaining consortia were permitted to present their systems for technical evaluation to a team of experts from the 11 participating EU member states. Now in the third and final phase of the project, two finalists – Frequentis, leading the BoardPort consortium, and Airbus’ consortium — remain. Both built their live systems across several countries and have tested them for their applicability and future added value with more than 40 emergency personnel. A two-month trial operation took place, with several test runs performed under the most realistic conditions possible.

The last trail in Malaga in July marked an important step in the third and final phase of the pre- procurement procedure, allowing the BroadPort consortium to prove that the theoretical solution methods and the developed prototypes are also suitable for real-world emergency situations.

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