Canada must say yes to Broadband for Public Safety: Urgent call for appropriate spectrum allocation. Public Safety will run out of Data Spectrum in the near future
December 8, 2010

December 8, 2010

Canada Must Say Yes to Broadband for Public Safety: Urgent call for Appropriate Spectrum Allocation

Public Safety Will Run Out of Data Spectrum in the Near Future

Contact: Emily Boucher, Media Adviser at or 613-236-6550

Ottawa, ON--CATAAlliance, Canada's largest high tech association today launched an advocacy campaign that recommends first steps to help put Canada in the lead for the development of a unified, state-of-the art mission critical voice and broadband multimedia and services network for our Public Safety community. The campaign, known as "Broadband for Public Safety", supports the aims of the joint police, fire, and emergency medical services working group recently formed towards charting an appropriate course of action in addressing this mission critical area.

It forms an integral part of the industry's Innovation Nation program, a program, under the tutelage of Canada's leading entrepreneur, Sir Terence Matthews that lays out what we must do as a nation to move us from a 13th place ranking to first place in innovation rankings.

According to CATA Leadership Council Director George Krausz, "this is the one opportunity Canadian public safety has to get the 700 MHz band spectrum capacity needed to implement broadband networks built to meet their mission critical needs. First Responders must have access to broadband technologies that will be out there in the very near future, but agencies will not be able to implement them if Industry Canada does not allocate the 10 + 10 MHz spectrum to them now. Once it's auctioned for commercial use, it's gone forever. Public safety data networks must meet the mission critical requirements of First Responders, including guaranteed broadband communications capacity, control, prioritization, coverage, and interoperability with their mission critical voice networks to support day-to-day operations as well as emergency incidents. With advances in broadband technology, public safety has identified an increasing need to access wireless data and video networks, out to the field and to provide situational awareness to incident control."

The Public Safety Alliance in the U.S. is fighting for the additional 5 + 5 MHz D Block to be reallocated to them. Their web site provides excellent videos on emerging broadband applications for public safety, see .

Dedicated 700 LTE spectrum supports the unique broadband needs of public safety users. Crucially, 700 MHz band offers several advantages over the current spectrum carriers own, such as, wider signal coverage with fewer antennas, ideal for covering suburban or rural areas, the ability for deployment of higher performance mobile broadband services over greater distances, and a better ability for users to receive signals inside buildings, resulting in a far more resilient communications overall.

A robust network will enable police officers to gain immediate access to law enforcement databases, use on-line license plate recognition and biometrics to deal with criminal activities, and use video surveillance capable of identifying terrorists. It will give firefighters access to building blueprints and databases that identify dangerous materials, and support the use of video capabilities to view what's happening inside a building. In addition, medical personnel will have access to high resolution video and patient records at the scene to enhance the effectiveness of medical care. These are only just a few examples.

In order to successfully take advantage of these capabilities, Canada's public safety broadband network must have sufficient capacity to meet public safety communications needs over the long term. The time to provide appropriate spectrum dedicated to public safety is now.

John Reid, CATA CEO and Broadband for Public Safety Champion, spoke to this issue and called on community engagement to help advance a solution.

View Video

Canada's radio spectrum regulator, Industry Canada, is engaging consultations on the 700 MHz broadband allocations (the result of spectrum availability due to the transition from analog television to digital) that will ultimately affect public safety agencies' ability to deploy mission critical data well into the future. Inaction poses significant risk as the upcoming allocation of spectrum will directly impact Police, Fire, EMS and other responder agencies' ability to fulfill their most important mission over the coming decades.

Reid states, "the first step in the roadmap for the future of Public Safety Broadband and Data Interoperability is for Public Safety to own 10 + 10 Mhz spectrum. We then move on to the determination of funding and partnership models for regional deployment, methods and operations, information access and national databases and applications. 700 MHz Broadband Spectrum must be allocated to these services as a critical outcome of Industry Canada consultations, thus paving the way for the required 21st Century communications system for Canada's public safety and security services."

Matthews concluded, "if Canada is to become an Innovation Nation, we've got to excel in key sectors such as public safety and security where given the right conditions we can create new flagship enterprises and hundreds of SME's to supply domestic and global security needs."

++ Action Item:
MP and Community Mobilization
Please send electronically and/or print out and fax the Broadband for Public Safety communiqué and follow up with a phone call to your local MP, media and network of contacts, inclusive of posting on your social media. In support of the communiqué, we are also providing upon request, briefing papers from Partner organizations. Please email with Broadband for Public Safety Campaign in the subject line.

We will be sending shortly details of a TeleForum Conference Call to discuss the Broadband for Public Safety Campaign provide updates and offer a Q&A with industry experts. You will be invited to join our Broadband for Public Safety Group to ensure that you receive instant updates, peer contact information, and opportunities to dialogue and provide guidance to the advocacy team.

CATA also has a number of research papers available under the Security Section of its Research Repository. It is one of our core areas of research, business networking and advocacy.

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