Sample Briefing Note MHz and Interoperability

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Sample Briefing Note MHz and Interoperability Powered By Docstoc

         10 MHz of 700 MHz Broadband Spectrum Allocated for Public Safety Use


1.      Canada’s radio spectrum regulator, Industry Canada, announced on March 14th, 2012 that
        it was setting aside 10 MHz of 700 MHz broadband spectrum for “public safety use” in
        Canada and along the Canada – US Border. This spectrum has become available due to
        the transition from analog television to digital in 2011. The decision to assign only 10
        MHz of this spectrum, and not the full 20 MHz that the U.S. has provided their
        responders, will ultimately affect public safety agencies’ ability to deploy mission critical
        data well into the future. The Chiefs’ associations joined forces to fight for this spectrum
        in 2010 via the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) that they
        created in 2008. CITIG launched an awareness campaign, called “Action 700”
        ( and have worked nationally with a wide range of Federal,
        Provincial, Territorial & Municipal (F/P/T/M) partners to create joint positions on the

2.      We also sought, and received, support from Government of Canada scientists who
        completed a detailed analysis that clearly outlines the requirement for 20 MHz of
        broadband spectrum for public safety use. While the Government’s decision to assign 10
        MHz is applauded as a first step, it is our position that we have a stated, proven and
        scientifically supported case for the full 20 MHz of spectrum that our US responder
        partners received from the President of the United States and Congress in a bill passed
        earlier this year (along with $7 billion in funding to help start their nation-wide build out
        of what they are calling “First Net.”

3.      Not assigning the second 10 MHz of spectrum, known as the “D” Block in the US, to
        Canadian public safety will directly impact Police, Fire, EMS, Emergency Management
        and other responder agencies’ ability to fulfill their most important mission over the
        coming decades. Public safety’s voice must be heard. We need the right tools to protect
        and save lives.


4.      We applaud the Government of Canada’s commitment to designate 10 MHz of spectrum
        in the 700 MHz band for public safety broadband use. It is an important first step. But in
        order to implement a nationwide network that can support mission-critical
        communications for our first responders, we need Industry Canada to take the second
        step. Canada's first responders need ubiquitous access to 20 MHz of spectrum.

5.      It is vitally important to our public safety and security requirements that we acquire a full
        20 MHz allocation, just as the U.S. has decided to do. This is the amount of bandwidth
        we need to make effective use of modern communications tools during emergencies. Our
        case for the full 20 MHz of spectrum in response to realistic and frequent occurrences is

      proven and scientifically supported. 20 MHz of spectrum will improve the ability of
      emergency responders to protect communities and save lives.

6.    Governance of the 20 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum for public safety for broadband use
      must reside with public safety stakeholders. A dedicated national interoperable public
      safety broadband network under the stewardship of public safety will be inherently more
      reliable, more robust, more functional and more resilient than current public safety
      communications systems.


7.    August 30, 2011 marked the transition from analog television to digital in Canada,
      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) is gearing up for consultations on the 700 MHz broadband

8.    In the U.S., a similar transition was accomplished on June 12, 2009. The U.S. Congress
      has now passed a bill (Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012), signed by
      President Obama on February 22, 2012 giving U.S. responders the full 20 MHz of
      broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band that they had been seeking.

9.    On March 14, Industry Minister Paradis announced that 10 MHz (known in the U.S. as
      the PSST Block) was being allocated in Canada for “public safety use.” While responders
      in Canada welcomed the news, there was concern over what the term “public safety use”
      meant (could it be licenced to a telecommunications company and then sold, as a service,
      to first responders in Canada – if so this would be a major issue and not supported by the
      Chiefs Associations or CITIG).

10.   Canadian public safety agencies are now fighting for a second 10 MHz block in the
      critical band of 700 MHz spectrum known as the D Block. We need to mobilize quickly
      on what is arguably the most important public safety technology issue Canadian law
      enforcement, fire, EMS and emergency management officials have faced in decades.

11.   Today, Canadian public safety entities use existing commercial networks for their data
      needs. Some 700 MHz narrow and wide band spectrum is already dedicated to public
      safety in Canada for voice and some data use. However, securing dedicated spectrum for
      broadband applications for public safety will ensure wireless broadband networks can be
      built with the needs of public safety in mind moving forward. 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

12.   With advances in technology, Canadian agencies will have an increasing need to access
      data and video networks during all emergency incidents. Law enforcement agencies will

      need access to streaming video, surveillance networks capable of identifying known
      terrorists through the use of video analytics, criminal records, automated license plate
      recognition and biometric technologies including mobile fingerprint and iris
      identification to prevent and respond to criminal activities. Fire services will need access
      to building blue prints, health-monitoring sensors and GPS tracking systems in order to
      save lives. Emergency medical services will need access to telemedicine, high-resolution
      video and patient records to reduce the time it takes to deliver medical services at the
      scene of an incident such as a car crash on a highway. Critical-infrastructure service
      providers will need to be able to coordinate their responses to restore power and
      telecommunications services during large-scale incidents. The government of Canada and
      various other federal agencies will need to access data networks during large-scale
      incidents to coordinate Federal assistance with Provincial/Territorial and local response
      and recovery operations.

13.   All these applications and services depend greatly on the amount of spectrum that is
      available for public safety broadband services — they require considerable bandwidth
      and speed that is currently not available. Future networks must be built with public safety
      requirements in mind – thus our call for the full 20 MHz of 700 MHz broadband
      spectrum to be assigned to our needs.


14.   The issue of spectrum and possible nationwide broadband network is very complex and
      potentially expensive, and at this point Canadian responders have more questions than
      answers. What is known is that a nationwide, public safety interoperable wireless
      broadband network for data and video transmissions is the 21st Century vision for
      communications system for Canada’s responders. Availability of such a network, now
      that we have 10 MHz of spectrum set aside for our use, responds directly to the Canadian
      tri-services identified priorities of improved interoperability and integrated emergency
      management. The additional spectrum allocation of the “D” Block of 10 MHz is a key
      enabler for the creation of such a network.

15.   In February this year, participants from F/P/Ts, emergency responders (police, fire and
      emergency medical responders), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the
      Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) and the Canadian
      Advanced Technology Alliance, along with subject-matter experts, met in Montreal to
      discuss the governance of a future public safety system of systems in Canada. Industry
      Canada also participated as an observer and provided an overview of the requirements to
      hold a spectrum licence. Members achieved consensus on the governance model and
      drafted a report that will constitute the basis of a proposal to Industry Canada for the
      second phase of consultations. More work is required; however, it is a significant
      achievement for which each participant was an important contributor.

16.   The ownership of the potential network is not at issue (i.e., public, public-private, solely
      private or a range of permutations), however, the licensing/control of the spectrum is
      critical. Spectrum dedicated to public safety will dictate that industry build wireless

      broadband networks with the needs of public safety in mind (i.e., built to national
      standards and is interoperable with other networks). By design, these networks (no matter
      who builds them) would be inherently more reliable, more robust, more functional and
      more survivable — to a level that is expected and required to support emergency
      response operations.

17.   Now that Canada has secured our first 10 MHz of public safety dedicated 700 MHz
      broadband spectrum, we can begin working on a new national “system of systems” to
      reduce the risk of endangering responders and citizens with insufficient communications
      (i.e., the lack of capacity for day-to-day operations, incident management and
      catastrophic incidents). Control of that spectrum must be in the hands of Public Safety
      officials rather than commercial entities to ensure accountability.

18.   The needs of Canadian responder agencies (and broader public safety community) must
      continue to be considered during the next round of spectrum consultation with a vision to
      build a robust system that meets Public Safety’s mission critical requirements. The
      leaders of police, fire and emergency medical service agencies across the country are
      joining together to develop a common position on the issue. We have worked with trusted
      partners to complete an independent study that clearly identified the need for the full 20
      MHz of spectrum for public safety use in Canada. Jointly, the Canadian Association of
      Chiefs of Police (CACP), the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC), Emergency
      Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC) and the Canadian Interoperability
      Technology Interest Group (CITIG) are working to raise awareness about the issue and
      re-issue our call to action to all levels of government and industry to join in this effort.


19.   The allocation of 20 MHz of 700MHz spectrum represents a once in a lifetime
      opportunity that ties directly to community and responder safety, innovation and the
      health of Canada’s digital economy. Stakeholders are encouraged to 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; and work with tri-services
      colleagues and others to advocate a strong voice for public safety in advance of spectrum

Date Prepared:                      March 23rd, 2012


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