March 28, 2012, Ottawa - The three emergency services groups that have worked together to encourage Ottawa to set aside a portion of the 700 MHz band for public safety broadband use said Wednesday they applaud the government's first step in designating a segment of the spectrum for first responders.
Industry Minister Christian Paradis said earlier this month that Ottawa is reviewing the implication of the designation by the United States of the D-block of the spectrum for public safety use and will consult stakeholders on a similar option for Canadian first responders.
In February, the U.S. Congress agreed to allocate an additional block of bandwidth to public safety and support the development of a mission-critical, nationwide public safety broadband network. The United States had already allocated 10 MHz to broadband; the inclusion of the D Block it gave public safety 20 MHz of broadband.
In Canada, a committee of police, fire and EMS chiefs have been advocating for a 20 MHz portion of the 700 MHz spectrum to ensure seamless communication among responders.
“We are encouraged by the government of Canada’s intention to mirror the U.S. allocation, which will improve the ability of emergency responders to protect communities and save lives,” said Chief Rob Simonds, president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs. “Spectrum allocations are essential to the Canadian Tri-Services’ vision of improved interoperability and integrated emergency management.”
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, and Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada also said Wednesday that they recognize the strong leadership role played by the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group to in bring this issue to the forefront.
For more information on 700 MHz Broadband for Mission Critical Public Safety Data, visit www.action700.ca.