March 15, 2012

A National Public Safety Broadband Network: One Major Step Closer to Reality with Industry Canada Decision to Allot Dedicated Spectrum Towards its Development


Ottawa, March 15, 2012 -- The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) is strongly supportive of and commends the Government of Canada for its decision yesterday to set aside 10 MHz of 700 MHz band spectrum for the exclusive use of the public safety community.

See this link for more on this important decision: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf10121.html

In a letter received yesterday from The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., MP, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), he thanks CATA for our valuable input into the consultation on this issue and expresses the hope that we will respond to the forthcoming consultation regarding the dedication of the requested additional 10 MHz of D Block spectrum.

"We are certainly pleased for the recognition of our advocacy on this issue and will be issuing a formal reply soon that relates existing and well-developed plans regarding the establishment of a national non-profit entity to manage the spectrum for the public safety community," explains Kevin Wennekes, VP Research for CATA and the lead for public safety initiatives.

"In fact, we recently facilitated a four-day workshop among leaders in the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, alongside tri-service responder representatives to define a charter of incorporation for a new national agency whose mission would be to develop and operate a national interoperable public safety wireless broadband network," elaborates Mr. Wennekes. "Substantial progress was made in defining its mandate, financing and business models, governance, roles and responsibilities, and these findings will be shared in a two-day public consultation being planned for early May."

See this page for more information on the workshop: http://www.cata.ca/700mghz-workshop/

While CATA is pleased to have been a part of the success in influencing this decision, the real champions include a long list of organizations and groups with whom CATA has worked closely alongside since the beginning of this campaign. Some of the notables include: Public Safety Interoperability Development Office, Defence and Research Development Canada, Centre for Security Science, the Canadian Police Research Centre, the Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management (SOREM), Industry Canada, and those tri-service organizations who led the charge, notably the Action 700 advisory panel funded and chaired by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada. Also instrumental to this decision is a long-recognized voice for interoperability in Canada, the Canadian Interoperable Technology Interest Group (CITIG).

"Yesterday was a great day for public safety interoperability in Canada," says Lance Valcour O.O.M., Executive Director of CITIG. "We are extremely happy the Government of Canada made the decision to give an initial 10 MHz of the 700 band to start working on the development of a nation-wide broadband network. However, we strongly believe that for this national network to be effective and successful, we require the full 20 MHz mirroring what our American counterparts have been provided, as approved by President Obama and the U.S. Congress, which will allow us to continue our efforts to work effectively in Canada and just as importantly, provide true interoperability across our shared borders."

"I also want to express my own deep appreciation for the support and dedication to the cause provided by CATA from the very outset of this campaign," says Mr. Valcour. "They have been instrumental in helping us research the issues, getting us in touch with key industry and government stakeholders, and providing their unequivocal support to the responder and public safety communities in Canada on a broad range of technology challenges and needs."

As noted in the Industry Canada document, Notice No. SMSE-002-12 — Policy and Technical Framework — Mobile Broadband Services (MBS) — 700 MHz Band — Broadband Radio Service (BRS) — 2500 MHz Band, leading industry players voiced their own support for the spectrum allotment for public safety, such as noted CATA member Motorola Solutions Canada.

"The Government of Canada has taken a significant step toward a nationwide broadband network by allotting an initial 10 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum for the exclusive use of Canadian public safety," says George Krausz, Vice President, Motorola Solutions Canada, and member of the CATA Board of Directors. "Motorola Solutions commends Tri Services, police, fire and emergency management national associations, CITIG, CATA and all of Canadian Public Safety for helping to make the allocation a reality and bringing true Canada-wide public safety interoperability one step closer. We look forward to continuing to work together with Industry Canada and the public safety community toward the realization of an interoperable nationwide broadband network providing first responders with the solutions they need to do their jobs more efficiently, effectively and safely."

CATA will continue its advocacy efforts and public consultations on these issues. Plans are currently underway to conduct a two-day session in early May that will allow for the sharing of the draft charter of incorporation that has been developed regarding the needed new national entity, as well as a survey of key stakeholders regarding the potential acquisition of the requested 10 additional MHz of the D Band block.

Action Items:
To register your early interest in participating in the May consultation and obtaining a copy of the Charter when it becomes available (forecasted for end of March), please contact Kevin Wennekes at kwennekes@cata.ca.

CATA is also actively engaged in the development and execution of a number of public safety initiatives, including the upcoming 5th Annual First Responder Vendor Outreach Forum, a First Responder Technology Roadmap, an Emergency Responder Buyers Group, a monthly webinar series featuring noted public safety leaders, and many other initiatives. See this link for more information: http://www.cata.ca/Media_and_Events/Press_Releases/cata_pr02281202.html

Join CATA today – your contribution as a valued member enables us to continue to pursue our significant efforts for the public safety community in Canada, and the vendor community that seek to best serve them.

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