India's TRAI recommends a hybrid PPDR network

By Jonathan Nally
Wednesday, 06 June, 2018

India's TRAI recommends a hybrid PPDR network

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued its recommendations for the provision of a nationwide public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) communications network.

The development follows industry consultations in December 2017 and February 2018. Based on those industry inputs, the TRAI has recommended that the Indian Government set up a pan-India integrated broadband PPDR (BB-PPDR) communication network (to be called the ‘National BB-PPDR Network’) based on 3GPP PS-LTE technology.

According to the TRAI, a hybrid network should be put in place in which a dedicated BB-PPDR communication system, funded by government, is deployed in cities, border districts, disaster-prone areas and sensitive areas, while existing commercial networks could be leveraged in other regions.

The Authority says that stringent SLAs should be put in place and that operators should be required to provide mobile BTS and backpack devices in case the terrestrial network is damaged or destroyed.

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) should be set up to plan, coordinate and steer the network’s implementation and its subsequent operation, and an advisory committee should be formed that includes representatives from public safety, state governments, the central government and the Ministry of Communications.

In terms of spectrum, the TRAI says 2x 10 MHz of dedicated spectrum should be allocated nationwide to the SPV on a no-cost basis — this should be in the 814–824/859–869 MHz range. And 20 MHz in the 440–470 MHz (preferably 450–470 MHz) range should be allocated for future evolution of broadband PPDR.

Other recommendations include:

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) should study the feasibility of a phased withdrawal of captive mobile radio trunking service licences for PPDR agencies.
  • SPV should be the nodal agency to coordinate with the DoT for allocation of spectrum and other issues. The PPDR agencies and details of equipment deployed by them can be registered with DoT through SPY.
  • The DoT should work out timelines to phase out existing analog networks used for PPDR. New spectrum assignments may be made only for the deployment of digital equipment.
  • Pilot testing of the BB-PPDR dedicated network (dedicated spectrum and network) should be funded by the central government, at five zones identified as disaster-prone sensitive areas, to evaluate the efficacy of the proposed network.
  • Testing of the efficacy of PPDR trunking service roaming on public telecom networks should be done during pilot testing, and if found feasible, it should be implemented on pan-India basis.

Detailed information and the full recommendations (PDF) are available on the TRAI website.

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