New Delhi, (Asian independent) Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director General S.P. Kochhar on Tuesday said that there is need to enhance efficiency of the current infrastructure network of ‘Public Protection and Disaster Relief’ (PPDR) agencies.
At a webinar organised by COAI and Nokia, he noted that PPDR agencies have their individual networks in place, which work in silos and the the issue needs to be urgently looked into.
The telecom industry is ready to provide the requisite support to these agencies, he added.
“Keeping in mind the developments in wireless broadband technologies such as LTE, it is time we exploit these to enhance the efficiencies of the current communications infrastructure of PPDR agencies to enable them to use digital tools to meet the evolving needs of public safety and emergency communication, such as access to instant messaging, high-quality images and video, mapping and location services, remote control of robots, and other applications,” Kochhar said.
Communication plays an important role in both regular police and first responder services as well as in rescue and relief operations during emergency or disaster situations, especially in a country like India, which is highly prone to natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, coastal cyclones and other accidents.
Currently, public safety and first responder agencies such as the police department, fire department, medical teams and armed forces largely rely on PPDR networks based on legacy technologies such as TETRA, P25 or old analogue systems for their communication in the field, which are primarily meant for voice communications.
The current framework has resulted in fragmented spectrum assignments with an inefficient use of precious and prime sub-GHz frequency. LTE or 4G based wireless broadband networks are a good option and can be deployed to substantially enhance the efficiencies in PPDR work, he said.
Nokia’s Chief Technology Officer Randeep Raina said: “The current PPDR network infrastructure is unable to have seamless communication and information sharing among the PPDR agencies. This is because their networks are either not inter-operable or they are just not compatible with each other.”
He noted that India’s National Digital Communications Policy 2018 stresses on enhancing PPDR and establishing a pan-India network for PPDR.
“To overcome current challenges, LTE for public safety network brings many advantages and provides host of services like IoT, Video streaming and is also scalable. LTE also promises inter-operability, security with installed encryption on application level and is also suitable to support large ecosystem. We understand India wants to adopt LTE but spectrum availability is an issue, so we hope all stakeholders work in this direction to adopt new technologies,” Raina said.