4 November 2019

FOCP in attendance at the International Public Safety Wireless Leaders Forum

Representatives from the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP) attended the 2019 International Public Safety Wireless Leaders Forum. Organised by the United States First Responder Network Authority and held in the US city of Boulder, Colorado from 26 to 31 August, the conference provided attendees from North America, Europe, Oceania and Japan with an opportunity to discuss and share their experiences of mobile broadband public safety communication solutions for first responders.

International discussion on mobile broadband public safety communication

Up until now, first responders have used their own dedicated radio networks to communicate with one another. Unfortunately, these types of networks are not suitable for transmitting data. Given the steady rise in demand for data applications, many countries around the world are currently planning, or have already begun, to migrate to an LTE-based mobile broadband network. In Switzerland, the process is still in its infancy; in contrast, 65% of the US is already covered by the US FirstNet network. A whole range of devices have been selected, apps have been developed and some 9,000 public safety organisations have already subscribed to FirstNet.

Events like the International Public Safety Wireless Leaders Forum are proof that mobile broadband is a global challenge for public safety. Participation is these events means that the FOCP is able to learn from the experiences of other organisations and draw on these insights to learn and move efforts forward in line with Swiss requirements.

Mobile broadband safety communication in Switzerland

Blue light organisations in Switzerland currently use the mobile networks of commercial operators for data communication. This is far from optimal given that network overload can occur daily and there is no guarantee of availability when network traffic is high. To ensure the public benefits from the necessary protection in exceptional situations like a natural disaster or terrorist attack, it is vital that first responders can rely on a resilient communications system.

With this in mind, the FOCP, together with the cantons and the organisations concerned, launched the Mobile Broadband Safety Communication (MSC) project. It is currently in the design phase and plans for a pilot trial are under way.



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