Advanced LTE network offers priority service for police

An advanced LTE (long-term evolution) ‘trunking’ solution that combines critical voice, traditional Private Mobile Radio (PMR) functionality and broadband services, such as HD video streaming, all in a single device is available to police forces up and down the country.

Apr 9, 2014
By Liam Kay

eLTE, which is built by UK Broadband, a specialist in world-class wireless solutions for business and public sector organisations, is now available for police forces to use – as shown at a real-time demonstration held by the City of London Police and City of London Corporation today (April 10) – and will now be put forward to the Government’s Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) when it is released for tender in the near future.

The ESMCP is looking at a replacement for the current Airwave-run Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) which is due to be fully mobilised by September 2016.

Thanks to UK Broadband’s partnership with Chinese technology firm Huawei, it has been able to demonstrate the product’s benefits and put it forward as a genuine alternative to TETRA, offering the same security and availability features, such as Push-to-Talk (PTT), while enabling data and video to be accessed via a single device.

Interoperability between the blue light services will also be encouraged through the eLTE system.

Currently, TETRA does not allow for data to be uploaded or downloaded in vast quantities and UK Broadband believes that TETRA will not develop further in the future, a problem when the demand for data services and increased mobility are recognised.

The eLTE solution is focused on business and mission-critical applications and is ideally suited for public safety communications such as the new Emergency Services Network (ESN), as well as airports, ports and other campus scenarios where quality and reliability are paramount.

It is also targeted at utility companies, particularly in respect of the emerging mission critical machine-to-machine (M2M) marketplace.

The eLTE service uses ‘embedded’ technology to ensure emergency services will be prioritised rather than waiting in a queue with members of the public, something that would make urgent calls between blue light services impossible during peak times of the year, such as New Year’s Eve.

This is different to ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) application-based solutions as the eLTE is fully integrated into the network. OTT operates in a similar way to apps on smartphones and is not able to run functions like PTT and pre-emption.

UK Broadband claims the eLTE solution is also the only way to deliver the critical Direct Mode Operation (DMO), something an OTT solution cannot provide. Also, whereas OTT ESN users will have no communication outside of network coverage, eLTE is still workable.

Meanwhile, Motorola Solutions is developing a 4G LTE-based Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) for the Los Angeles region in California, US. The PSBN will provide mission-critical communications for more than 34,000 law enforcement, fire service and health service professionals.

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