Telecom regulator TRAI initiated a public discussion on strengthening the underlying communications network for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) services.

The PPDR communication is used for a broad spectrum of services ranging from maintenance of law and order to protection of life and property, from disaster relief to emergency responses.

While the technological advancements have brought latest capabilities like beaming of live images and interoperability to these critical networks globally, the existing PPDR networks in the country are "either old analogue systems or use narrow band radios".

TRAI has now released a consultation paper to beef up PPDR infrastructure.

The discussions will centre around issues and shortcoming of the existing network, features of next-generation PPDR networks and its required technical specifications, as well as spectrum availability needed for building an "advanced, reliable, robust and responsive" PPDR system.

TRAI has specifically asked for views on whether or not PSUs should be tasked with providing nationwide broadband PPDR communication network, and also frequency bands that can be assigned exclusively for public protection and disaster relief operations.

"If wideband/broadband PPDR is to be implemented in India, what quantum of the spectrum will be needed for such solution for PPDR? What is the cost and benefits trade-off envisaged for public protection and disaster relief viz-a-viz commercial value of spectrum," are some of the issue raised in the TRAI consultation paper.

TRAI noted that broadband PPDR supports the wide range of applications such as sending live images, videos and texts apart from the voice communications.

"Existing PPDR networks in the country are analogue and digital systems supporting narrowband voice and data communications," TRAI said adding that introduction of advanced communication networks can be a "great enabler" in decision making and handling of such operations.

The consultation paper also dwells on the execution models prevailing in various countries for advanced PPDR network.

The last date for submission of written comments is November 20, while the deadline for counter-comments is December 4, 2017. – Money Control 

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