FCC puts permanent stamp of approval on TETRA technology Final decision ensures user choice for critical communications in the US

24 September 2012: The TETRA & Critical Communications Association (TCCA) has announced that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a permanent change to its part 90 rules to permit the unrestricted use of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) technology for critical communications in the 450-470 MHz and 809-824/854-869 MHz bands. The rulemaking states: “The record is clear that TETRA is a valuable option for licensees requiring a spectrally efficient wireless solution,” and continues “we find that TETRA offers adjacent channel protection that is often better than other narrowband systems currently operating in the LMR bands.”

This permanent change follows on from the temporary waiver issued by the FCC last year. The waiver opened up the US market for products conforming to the TETRA voice and data communications to be available for users requiring critical communications.

The FCC’s ruling is the culmination of many years’ work by the TCCA and other TETRA advocates to bring the benefits of TETRA to critical communications users in North America.

Phil Kidner, CEO of the TCCA, said: “This is extremely positive news for the TETRA market. All arguments against the adoption of TETRA in the US appear to have been rejected by the FCC, and we are delighted that critical communications users in the US can now consider TETRA as fully approved.”

TETRA contracts have already been announced in Canada, where power company BC Hydro is implementing the first fully operational TETRA network in North America. In the US, the technology has been trialled by New Jersey Transit (NJT), the country’s third largest provider of bus and rail transportation services, and has resulted in the approval to procure a TETRA-based network. Several TETRA trials are in place in the US, including one with New York City Transit. In addition, there is an ongoing demonstration system involving multiple TETRA manufacturers hosted in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The FCC ruling complements an unprecedented 12 months of success for TETRA and its markets. The industry is more buoyant now that at any other time in the history of the communications standard. Independent figures from IMS Research underline the strength of the technology, with the greatest annual number of terminals to date shipped in 2011.

As well as this manufacturing strength, the TETRA industry has seen a steady stream of new contracts announced and innovative products launched. Many of the products were unveiled at the 2012 TETRA World Congress in Dubai, which saw record attendance in terms of both visitors and exhibitors.

TETRA continues its expansion in commercial sectors, consistently delivering the levels of performance required by an increasing number of market sectors looking for robust and reliable critical communications. These sectors include air, rail, road and water transport, utilities, mining, the oil and gas exploration, extraction and delivery industries, as well as commercial, manufacturing, retail and leisure organisations. In oil and gas in particular, the availability of intrinsically safe ATEX radios, which can be used in potentially explosive environments, has increased investment in TETRA.

TETRA is regularly deployed to ensure resilient and secure communications at major sporting events. Airwave in the UK, operator of the world’s largest public safety TETRA network, also delivered the dedicated Apollo Private Mobile Radio Network for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The full FCC ruling can be found here.

Editors’ notes:

The TCCA represents more than 160 organisations from all continents of the world, providing a forum for all those interested in TETRA and the future of critical communications. Our membership is currently at its highest level in the history of the Association, and includes manufacturers, application providers, integrators, operators, test houses and telecommunications agencies.

To find out more, please visit www.tcca.info

For further information, please contact editor@tcca.info

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