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Police Federation reiterates demand for 700 MHz spectrum

Emergency services vs. carriers battle drags on

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The Police Federation of Australia has renewed calls for dedicated mobile broadband spectrum for Australia’s public safety agencies, dismissing the telecommunications industry’s suggestion that carrier services could meet their needs.

Previously, carriers have suggested that the various emergency services could buy services from the industry rather than being allocated dedicated spectrum.

In its latest submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into the “Capacity of communication networks and emergency warning systems to deal with emergencies and natural disasters”, the PFA says carrier networks lack the resilience and redundancy needed by police.

Agencies “need secure, hardened, high capacity for critical incidents systems,” the PFA says. Carrier networks are insufficient for this because they “do not develop their networks to importance Level 1”.

The PFA is supporting the various agencies’ demand for 20 MHz of the 126 MHz which is becoming available in the 700 MHz band as spectrum is freed by the shift to digital TV, reiterating its own – and other agencies – concerns about the suitability or availability of spectrum in the 800 MHz band.

Telstra, however, told the inquiry it believes there’s a risk that if 700 MHz spectrum is allocated to emergency services, it might remain unused by agencies.

The Senate inquiry continues today, and is due to report its findings in November. ®

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