RFI public security network of the Ministry of the Interior


A new public security communication system must be deployed in advance of the major events that will take place in Paris in 2023 and 2024; credit: Wikimedia / Zinneke

The French Ministry of the Interior has launched a call for tenders (RFI) to help it identify and remove the last technical and organizational obstacles to the creation of the Radio Network of the Future (RRF), which aims to provide everyone with the emergency services of the country personnel of the services having access to modern and secure means of communication.

This first RFI concerns air-to-ground communications with LTE and Licensed Shared Access (LSA) to allow tactical networks to use commercial spectrum as needed. The submission deadline is November 14 at 5:00 p.m. (Paris time) and the RFI and its supporting documents can be viewed here.

The Ministry of the Interior wishes to establish the architecture, the functional organization and the economic models which will allow the successful implementation of the RRF. It plans to use an architecture capable of reusing already existing information transport infrastructures: commercial networks and their critical counterparts. He adds that securing resources for the RRF remains a hot topic. Regarding the dedicated 2X10MHz spectrum requested by the Ministry, it wishes to rely heavily on the professional mobile telecommunications markets, by targeting the development of 5G.

The Ministry of the Interior seeks to:

  • define the functioning of the RRF with its future users, to allow the creation and / or modification of the evolution of its functionalities.
  • define realistic and viable economic models for each module of the system allowing a tender on a standard model every four years to control and minimize costs;
  • secure the resources to be used on an operator network so that if it is overloaded with commercial traffic, there is no impact on critical operations while ensuring that the service can be offered in a viable manner by the operators ;
  • ensuring the availability of sufficient spectral resources for tactical bubbles when the forces need them.
  • provide control rooms with broadband services;
  • present a global and end-to-end vision of communications in critical mode, from incident detection to the end of the intervention, to encourage manufacturers to adapt their approach to global standards;
  • define the appropriate ecosystem for the purchase of air-ground communications services;
  • anticipate the services that will be available by 2023-2025, including those that will use 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The radio networks (INPT & RUBIS) currently managed by the Ministry of the Interior are based on proprietary narrowband technology Tetrapol and Airbus, the equipment manufacturer has announced that it will stop maintaining it in 2035 and 2020 for certain areas, including the Parisian network. However, soon after, several major events will take place in the Paris region, including the Rugby World Cup in 2023, as well as the Olympic Games and the opening of a new line on the Grand Paris Express in 2024.

The RRF is expected to be LTE-based, provide 95% geographic coverage, offer approximately 10 Mbps bandwidth, use spectrum in the 700 MHz band for its dedicated components, and support approximately 300,000 users, including customs officers, prison guards and decentralized services. (including municipal police forces).

The Home Office recently awarded contracts for its public safety broadband project PCSTORM, which will provide SWAT teams with resilient broadband radio communications using tactical networks. Orange, the French mobile network operator, will provide the radio access network (RAN) with priority and preemption and ensure that other French commercial mobile networks can be used as backup. Streamwide won the bundle of four applications and the security contract in June and will provide its team on mission MCPTT solution. The company participated in the second ETSI MCPTT Plugtests event in Texas earlier this year. Gemalto will provide the SIM cards for the devices.

Sam Fenwick

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