Tetra | Lte | 2018-05-11

Which Conceptual Operator Model for 'Next Generation Nødnett'?

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

DSB (Directorate for Civil Protection) has prepared a short paper describing different alternatives for implementing a possible mission-critical broadband system inside commercial mobile networks in Norway.

In December 2017, the Norwegian Government decided that the 700 MHz radio frequency band shall be made available for commercial operators. This means that a dedicated broadband network for mission-critical use is no longer an option in Norway. This document describes different alternatives for implementing a possible mission-critical broadband system inside commercial 4G/5G mobile networks, based on input from the Norwegian operators.

The present mobile communications network used by the public safety services and preparedness organisations in Norway, is called Nødnett.

The network is based on the TETRA standard and was rolled out in the period 2007-2015. It includes about 2,100 radio sites and serves around 55,000 users. The State owns Nødnett, and the responsibility for the network resides in the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB). The daily operation and maintenance is outsourced until end of 2026.

The capabilities of Nødnett cover the needs for mission-critical voice communication and short data messages, but data capabilities are limited by the narrowband nature of the TETRA technology. Nødnett users therefore utilise commercial mobile networks for applications requiring high-speed data, e.g. from police vehicles and ambulances. Currently, these networks do not match Nødnett in terms of coverage or reliability.

DSB is currently doing a concept study for the realisation of a robust and secured broadband data solution to Norwegian public safety and emergency preparedness organisations. It is the vision that in a longer term, the solution will also carry voice services and substitute the present Nødnett.

The term “Next Generation Nødnett” (NGN) is used in the paper to describe such a network solution.
There are several questions to be looked into regarding how to implement NGN, including how to define the optimal split of responsibilities between the State and the commercial operator(s). A situation where commercial network(s) carry mission-critical communication is new for the State, the public safety users and the operators. It is therefore essential to involve the affected parties in the process in defining the solution.

You can download the short paper here.