Rohill Reinforces the Need for Independency of Vital Lifesaving Communication Tools.
In a recent article on their website, Dutch manufacturer Rohill, discusses the need for governments to stay independent on its critical communications infrastructure, especially as we currently experience during the Coronavirus crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy that affects millions of people around the world. It is also heavily affecting the global economy.
After the past few months of the Coronacrisis, it has become clear that we will have to assess the new reality. The social distancing society, in the Netherlands called “1,5 meter society”, will require adjusted behaviour for a longer period of time. This will have a tremendous impact on the private life of citizens around the world. This might also result in less stability and trust when doing commercial business.
When it comes to communications, this situation of restricted traveling and social distancing has emphasised that mission-critical communication systems can never depend on foreign support. To avoid any risk, communication systems can only be fully supported from within a country. For a country, owning and controlling its own communication system avoids being dependent on foreign suppliers, but on top of that ensures cyber security and cybercrime protection against backdoors.
For this reason, countrywide networks should not be based on proprietary internal IPRs and only have an interoperability guarantee between subscribers and radio access network. Besides the related risk, this is also limiting capabilities for amongst others inter-network connectability.
Rohill has been addressing this issue for many years now. Especially TETRA communication systems and solutions for public safety should never have any dependence either in technology or in production from a foreign country (and on top of that from a shareholder-controlled entity). Being dependent will result in a security risks and no full own control. Besides this, it adds strategical, political and financial risks, including undesired single-supplier solutions that already are more expensive during the lifetime of the network.
In the past couple of weeks, there have been several attacks on public masts in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Ireland and Cyprus*, supporting the statement that a backup system is essential.
To guarantee national safety requirements and be fully independent, governments should only consider open standards and interfaces for their vital equipment. Rohill therefore has opened its technology for public safety users to guarantee full independence, as well as even up to local assembly, production, source code inspection and network upgrades. This eliminates the risks for dependency, nor cyber security risks have to be considered.
We currently experience that several countries are preparing for technology independency by establishing a local production and support organisation. TETRA is the open world standard for mission critical narrowband communication. As complete network changeovers are not favourable, it is mandatory for TETRA to support a migration towards broadband integration. We strongly believe that in the foreseeable future TETRA will maintain its value and function, and in some cases only as emergency backup network.
For this reason, the strategy of Rohill is support support healthy and viable solutions and to avoid engaging in situations where a country or a national safety organisation becomes directly dependent on Rohill for its vital lifesaving communication tools.
The reality of the Corona pandemic made it extremely clear that being dependent on foreign suppliers for vital resources or products is a high risk for a sovereign country. This conclusion is driven by all elements in mission-critical communications, being dependency, cyber security, economical risks, cyber criminality, political influence and now also epidemics.The strategy for full independency is therefore the only right one.