Faced with the possibility of missing out on a slice of the 700MHz spectrum, emergency services will now focus on getting some of the 800MHz band to deploy emergency networks that will roam seamlessly to public networks, according to Motorola Solutions Australian managing director Gary Starr.
"It seems, from a distance, it's a done deal," Starr told ZDNet Australia at MediaConnect's Kickstart 2012 conference.
Emergency service organisations have been in negotiations with the Federal Government for part of the 700MHz spectrum band that will be auctioned off at the end of this year as part of the digital dividend, but, as the deadline draws closer, it is looking unlikely that the services will get their way. It has been estimated that reserving some of the spectrum for emergency services would cost the government $220 million. The government is keen for emergency services to move into the 800MHz spectrum band.
Although Starr said last year that not allocating 700MHz spectrum would be "mortgaging the future", he admitted at the conference that 800MHz spectrum would be "almost as viable".
"It will support the applications they want to run," he said. "We're working with them and with the government to get a bit set aside."
Starr said that chipsets for 800MHz spectrum will be available, but there will not be anywhere near the amount of devices that will be available in the 700MHz spectrum band, which he said is where emergency services are deploying networks overseas.
He said that emergency services will look to deploy frequency-division duplex long-term evolution (FDD-LTE) networks in this spectrum, similar to the networks that telcos are currently deploying in the 1800MHz spectrum band. While this network will be private, Starr said that emergency services will be able to seamlessly roam to public 3G services on commercial networks when they're outside of coverage areas.
Josh Taylor travelled to Kickstart as a guest of MediaConnect.