LTE-based wireless broadband better option during disasters: COAI

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 22, 2020

Public safety and first-responder agencies largely rely on networks based on legacy technologies primarily meant for voice communications

As India is not well-equipped when it comes to disaster management, long-term evolution (LTE) or 4G-based wireless broadband networks are a good option and can be deployed to substantially enhance the efficiencies in Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) work.

Currently, public safety and first-responder agencies such as the Police Department, the 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. Therefore, LTE or 4G-based wireless broadband networks are a good option, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Nokia said at an event to discuss ‘Challenges and solutions for communications to be provided for Mission Critical Services’.

Time for an update

“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,” said SP Kochhar, Director-General, COAI.

Moreover, it has been observed that PPDR agencies have their individual networks in place, which work in silos. “This issue needs to be urgently looked into, and our industry is ready to provide the requisite support to these agencies to enable this,” he 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 interoperable or they are just not compatible with each other.

“India’s National Digital Communications Policy 2018 stresses on enhancing PPDR and establishing a pan-India network for PPDR. 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,” said Randeep Raina, Chief Technology Officer, Nokia.

Published on December 22, 2020

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