Creating a Clear Path to Interoperable Communications for America's First Responders

Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety Bureau, based on the recommendations of the FCC's Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC), is working toward a technical interoperability framework.

The ERIC recommendations were developed following a thorough review of fifteen interoperability showings from early builders of 700 MHz public safety mobile broadband networks, as well as extensive comments by the public safety community. This technical framework will help ensure from day one that interoperability is achieved among all public safety broadband networks. It also moves us closer to ensuring that the nation will not face the same magnitude of problems previously identified by the 9/11 Commission and others regarding the limitations and inability of America's first responders to effectively communicate with one another during 9/11 and then, subsequently, during and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We look forward to our continued work with America's first responders, state and local emergency managers and hospital emergency departments to make sure their broadband communications needs are met.

Under the baseline technical framework, waiver recipients will:

  • Construct networks that support Long Term Evolution (LTE) interfaces that support roaming and interoperability;
  • Construct networks that provide outdoor coverage at minimum data rates of 256 Kbps uplink and 768 Kbps downlink for all types of devices throughout the cell coverage area;
  • Provide 95 percent reliability of signal coverage for all services and applications throughout the network;
  • Conduct conformance testing on devices to ensure compliance with technical requirements associated with 3GPP Release 8 (LTE) and higher release standards;
  • Perform interoperability testing of the LTE interfaces to determine their roaming capabilities and make sure that these capabilities are sufficient;
  • Build security and encryption features into their networks based on certain optional features of the 3GPP security features for LTE Network Access Domain;
  • Allow to use permanent fixed point-to-point and point-to-multipoint stations only on an ancillary basis and on a non-interference basis to the primary mobile operations; and
  • Coordinate with one another when their networks overlap or operate adjacent to one another to avoid signal/spectral interference or disruption to communications.



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