The nation’s emergency responders are gearing up for another attempt to convince Ottawa they need more prized 700 MHz spectrum for the proposed national wireless LTE emergency network than has already been allocated.
The country’s chiefs of police were told Tuesday at their annual conference in Sydney, N.S., that a good deal of the preparatory work for overseeing the network has been done.
However, retired Ottawa police inspector Lance Valcour, executive director of a group representing the country’s police, fire and paramedical agencies called the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG), told the chiefs they have more work to do.
In an interview Valcour said the chiefs were told Industry Canada will soon call for submissions on whether the planned network should get more spectrum. Police departments need to work through provincial government officials to persuade Ottawa, he said.
While the LTE network would use spectrum in the 700 MHz band like commercial operators such as Bell Mobility and Rogers Communications, it will be reserved exclusively for emergency responders. That way they won’t have to fight for bandwidth on congested public networks.
Federal officials, CITIG, the chiefs of police and other agencies have been working with a group of provincial and territorial government officials called the Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management (SOREM) on how the network will be overseen.
The plan shown Tuesday to the police chiefs – which has yet to be approved by Industry Canada – calls for the spectrum licences to be held by a not-for-profit corporation to develop standards to assure the network can be accessed by emergency responders across the country and by their counterparts along the U.S. border.
The exact membership of the corporation’s board hasn’t been set, but it will likely be a combination of representatives from each the provinces and territories, plus a number of emergency responders.
The corporation would sub-lease the spectrum to organizations in each province, which would have the responsibility for contracting for the construction of the network.
Valcour said that could be done in a number of ways – a province could decide to fund construction itself, contract with a cellular carrier or create a public-private partnership for construction.
Despite some gaps the overall structure has been approved by provinces and territories, Valcour said.