Canada Takes Key Step Toward Public Safety Broadband Network

April 23, 2015
Chris Algiere provides FirstNet update to attendees at a cross-border workshop in Canada last fall.
Chris Algiere provides FirstNet update to attendees at a cross-border workshop in Canada last fall.

By Christopher Algiere, FirstNet Federal Outreach Branch Chief

Looking back at the United States’ efforts to establish an interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety entities, there were many key milestones along the way that enabled us to start this important work on behalf of first responders. This included the allocation of 20 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band to public safety entities and the establishment of FirstNet to ensure the deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network using that spectrum.

This week a key development occurred for the creation of a Canadian public safety broadband network. On Tuesday, April 21, the government of Canada indicated in its 2015 budget that an additional 10 MHz of broadband spectrum would be allocated to public safety communications along with some funding in 2016 – 2017 to make the effort a reality.

This Canadian spectrum allocation aligns with the public safety broadband network spectrum in the United States. This presents an opportunity to enhance interoperability between public safety agencies operating on the U.S. side of the border and their Canadian counterparts to the north.

Inspector (Ret) Lance Valcour has been a strong advocate for a public safety broadband network in Canada. He tells FirstNet that Canada has been “watching and learning” from the developments in the United States to establish the NPSBN. “After almost five years of hard work by hundreds of people we are extremely excited about the Canadian Government's announcement,” Lance says. “We look forward to working closely with responders and government officials on both sides of the border to take this joint vision and make it into a joint reality.”

FirstNet offers its congratulations to all of those in Canada who have been working on this effort over the years. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Canada on this important undertaking.

-Chris

Read more about Canada's efforts to establish an NPSBN.

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