Tri-Services Applaud Federal Budget Announcement on Broadband Spectrum and Funding
On April 21, the Government of Canada announced that a full 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum will be designated for public safety broadband use, and that $3 million will be provided to take initial steps to establish a Public Safety Broadband Network for responders and public safety partners (see full announcement here). In response, the tri-services chiefs associations issued a joint media release expressing their appreciation. CITIG would like to thank all who made this announcement possible.
As announced on April 21, 2015: Improving Public Safety Communications
Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $3 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to take initial steps to establish a Public Safety Broadband Network, a high-speed mobile network dedicated to emergency management.
Communication tools used by fire, police and ambulance services in Canada limit their ability to exchange information with one another and communicate across jurisdictions during an emergency. The Government is committed to working with provinces, territories, municipalities and the public safety community so that first responders have access to the latest communication technologies.
The Government has already allocated 10 megahertz (MHz) of the highly valued 700 MHz broadband spectrum for public safety communications. The Government will allocate another 10 MHz of the 700 MHz spectrum to enable the creation of a Public Safety Broadband Network, a high-speed mobile network dedicated to emergency management. The Government will also provide $3 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to take initial steps to establish the network. This investment will improve collaboration among public safety agencies to help save lives and keep our communities safe.
Public Safety Responds to Industry Canada’s Consultation on 700 MHz Broadband Spectrum for Public Safety
On October 24, 2012, the public consultation on the use of the Public Safety Broadband Spectrum in the Bands 758-763 MHz and 788-793 MHz (D Block) and 763-768 MHz and 793-798 MHz (PSBB Block) closed. CITIG was a key contributor to the Public Safety Canada coordinated response to the Industry Canada on the consultation. In short, the response supported efforts to secure 20 MHz of dedicated 700 MHz spectrum for public safety broadband, strongly opposed any potential Industry Canada commercial auction of that portion of spectrum. Download you copy of the response:
Please visit Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum for the complete list of responses.
Show Your Support to Secure 20MHz of Broadband Spectrum for Public Safety
On March 14, 2012, the Minister of Industry designated 10 MHz for public safety broadband use. The allocation of another 10 MHz (called D block) will be decided after the current consultation on the policy, technical and licensing framework for use of the public safety spectrum, which was launched on August 24, 2012. Stakeholders have until October 24, 2012 to respond. As you may know, public safety partners in Canada recommend that the D block also be set aside for public safety purposes for a total of 20 MHz of bandwidth in the 700 MHz. Allocating 20 MHz directly to public safety is the only way to ensure robust, modern, reliable public safety interoperable networks. Lend your support, and consider voicing your opinion. A customizable, generic letter of support can be found here.
Industry Canada Opens Consultation on 700 MHz Broadband Spectrum for Public Safety
On August 25, 2012, Industry Canada published a notice to announce a public consultation on the use of the Public Safety Broadband Spectrum in the Bands 758-763 MHz and 788-793 MHz (D Block) and 763-768 MHz and 793-798 MHz (PSBB Block). Commercial operators, public safety entities, equipment manufacturers, members of the public and other stakeholders are encouraged to submit a response. Comments must be submitted no later than October 24, 2012.
CITIG and its partners are currently evaluating the consultation request. Stay tuned for more information and analysis. In the interim, the document can be retrieved from Industry Canada’s Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Web site at http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum.
Tri-Services Issue News Release on Spectrum for Public Safety
On March 28, 2012, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC) joined together to express their support for the Government of Canada’s designation of spectrum in the 700 MHz band for public safety broadband use by issuing a press release (download English or French).
D-Block allocated to Public Safety in U.S. – An Historic Win for First Responders
On February 17, 2012, US Congress agreed to allocate the D Block to public safety and support the development of a mission-critical, nationwide public safety broadband network. In a live webcast press conference held Thursday afternoon, four key Democratic Senators invoked stories about police, fire, and EMS personnel killed on 9/11 as they announced an historic deal to give America’s first responders a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network. Of course, this is good news for Canada as public safety partners continue to raise awareness about securing the corresponding block of spectrum for Canadian responders.
August 21, 2011, Speaking to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in Windsor, Ontario Sunday evening, associate Minister of National Defence Julian Fantino commented on how the government is working with the police chiefs to advance a first-responders strategy that has uniform standards across communications equipment and a co-ordinated management response. Also key to interoperability is securing a dedicated broadband spectrum for public safety use. This news was received positively for those advocating that 20 MHz of bandwidth from the 700 MHz spectrum be set aside for public safety purposes.
April 19, 2011, Tri-Services issue media release at Emergency Services Management Conference in Montreal. Conference presentation.
April 6, 2011, Tri-Services Reply to Comments from Other Parties (21 pages) Regarding Responses to SMSE-018-10. Click here to view the original submission and related materials.
On February 28, 2011, the Tri-Services Special Purpose Committee on 700 MHz Broadband for Mission Critical Public Safety Data (on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada and its public safety partners) submitted its response to the Industry Canada consultation. Click here to view the submission and related materials.
What's at stake?
In Canada, August 30, 2011 marks the transition from analog television to digital, freeing up spectrum for potential use by public safety. Many private and public agencies are vying for the additional (and very valuable) spectrum, and Industry Canada (our nation’s spectrum regulator) recently opened consultations on the 700 MHz broadband allocations. Canadian police, fire, medical and other emergency professionals must have access to modern and reliable communications capabilities, including high speed data and video, to communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies and during day-to-day operations. Public safety’s voice must be heard. We need the right tools to protect and save lives.
- Improves the tri-services ability to protect and save lives.
- The ability to create nationwide, public safety interoperable wireless broadband network for mission critical data is vitally needed. This is the required 21st Century communications system for Canada’s responders.
- Spectrum allocations are a key enabler to the Canadian tri-services vision of improved interoperability and integrated emergency management.
- The needs of Canadian responder agencies (and broader public safety community) must be considered during the spectrum allocation process with a vision to build a robust system that meets Public Safety’s mission critical requirements.
What can you do?
- Get informed and put this issue on your organization’s radar.
- Inform your boards, municipalities, provincial/territorial governments and other governing bodies that spectrum allocations will have a significant impact on public safety in Canada.
- Work with tri-services colleagues and others to advocate a strong voice for public safety in advance of spectrum allocations.
- Look for and act on mobilization information as it sent by CACP, CAFC, EMSCC and others.