France Preparing to Launch Public Safety Broadband Network

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France is preparing to launch a public safety broadband network, according to a spokesman at the National Institute of Science and Technology’s Public Safety Communications 2022 Broadband Stakeholders Meeting in San Diego last week.

Guillaume Lambert, senior executive of the French Ministry of the Interior and head of the country’s public safety broadband network (the RRF) told conference attendees the contract could be awarded later this year. Lambert said France hopes to have it operational by 2024, when it will host the Olympics and be delivering nationwide coverage by the end of 2026. 

“I hope that the contract will be awarded in the next weeks or months—we are fully ready for that,” Lambert said. “We are just waiting for our government to make the decisions for this awarding of the contract.” 

French public safety personnel have been using TETRAPOL land-mobile-radio technology as their primary means of communications for the past 30 years. According to Lambert, TETRAPOL “works very well but is limited,” but narrowband systems are “slowly becoming obsolete,” he said.

The November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris exposed LMR’s inability to deliver geolocation, video streaming and data transfers. Lambert told the NIST audience he expects all of these features and more to be available with the RRF. France hopes to enjoy mission-critical services such as mission critical push-to-talk, MCData and MCVideo—voice-over-LTE telephony and secure IP access, he said.

“We will partner with BroadNet,” Lambert said, although both Airbus or Frequentis are reportedly being considered for the RRF award.

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