While consumers have access to 4G networks, emergency services are still stuck with 2G - and it's going to take more than rebranding their annual conference to bring LTE to the uniformed masses. The conference used to be called TETRA World, but in an attempt to imitate its consumer equivalent (which successfully flipped from " …
Round here the critical communication users (or what ever they are known as this week - see PPDR for last week's take on it) seem to roll out the line of "dead babies" if they are not afforded big fat chunks of waterfront spectrum gratis to stream their latest doughnut eating exercise to their mates back at HQ.
Thankfully people who hold the purse strings have seen past their spin, well actually the manufactures spin to sell truck loads of gear for ever more.
Thus the security forces need a dedicated network, and dedicated spectrum, to keep them organised
The UK networks are able to prioritise emergency services (and other "important") mobile users. The British can't be the only ones able to do that, can they ?
Building and running your own mobile nationwide infrastructure (Whether it's in the UK or USA) is not a cheap or trivial job. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to just pay carriers for what you want ? Even if they can't do it now, a nice big fat government contract will surely persuade them?
Re: The UK networks are able to prioritise emergency services (and other "important") mobile users.
You're forgetting the wireless phone-to-base-station link. Whilst once a mobile has been able to register with a base station and been identified as belonging to the emergency services it calls will get priority over the mobile operator's backhaul network. However, gaining access to the base station is still a free-for-all that consumes bandwidth.
Yes building and running your own mobile infrastructure is expensive and non-trivial - that is why all emergency services use the Airwave network. As for just paying the carriers - Airwave was originally BT Quadrant before being split off and sold to Macquarie...
About the only real question mark was the decision to use TETRA rather than TETRAPOL which was widely deployed to emergency services in Europe.
Commercial networks need hardening
The thing to remember about a commercial network is that its first priority is to make money - as such, all decisions are guided by "will this maximize profits?". So, decisions like site location, backup power, fuel for the backup power, tower structure, etc. are all made with the idea that once the expense of "doing it better" exceeds the projected payoff in increased income, you stop.
Public safety networks are not (or at least, should not be) profit oriented. They can say "no, that site, while cheaper, is less able to survive the disasters we have in this area than this other, more expensive site, so we choose the more expensive site." They can insist upon stronger towers, larger generators, greater fuel stocks, more frequent tests of the generator, etc. than a commercial site, because the commercial site operator will decide that a certain amount of down-time is cheaper than preventing it.
In Katrina, many commercial sites failed because the towers were overloaded with antennas (more antennas on a tower := more $$$, but also more wind-load). Many more failed because they had enough fuel for a few hours - enough to last over a normal power failure event, or enough allow a fuel truck to be dispatched in normal conditions, but not enough when all the infrastructure is down. Many more failed because the emergency systems were not tested on a regular basis (testing your gen-set puts hours on the clock, burns fuel, requires you to change the oil, etc.)
Can be useful for the emergency services, but not from "hostages" from Chase vehicles etc - the second traffic cop in a car viewing the live helicopter image of the person he is chasing might not be an absurd idea for instance.
The ability to see what officers are actually doing from base might also be useful in various situations - do we need to send more people into this burning building - yes there are three warm bodies in there, seen over the thermal imaging camera, the fireman can therefore go and get one and two others will be on their way.
You *can* do these things with voice, but you get more interesting abilities when you don't have to.
OTOH the current voice system works pretty darned well, so LTE would need to buck up it's ideas in that department!
You want to rely on 4G for critical systems?
Ha! You fool!
Customers may have "access" to 4G, but it is seriously limited by the small print (not available everywhere, won't work where you want it, no chance at your house, no chance at work either. You might be lucky and catch it in one corner of the pub once. Only once. It will never be seen again, and nobody will ever believe you).
Let's hope an emergency network 4G has somewhat better coverage... Although hearing continual "hello?", "repeat please", "A what?" on Police Camera Stop Accident Crash Action would be rather amusing.
and let the industry flog kit (at great expense, naturally)
and where are the taxpayers going to find the money to pay for all this?
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