Momentum continues for public safety broadband around the world. The BroadWay Project recently held a webinar and information day to update industry on its procurement plans for a public safety broadband network. The pan-European project encompasses 11 countries, representing ~1.4 million first responders, that together will procure a mobile broadband system for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR).
The Project has received €7.6M of initial funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program to complete the first three phases, setting up full scale deployment for 2022. This continued momentum for public safety broadband networks around the world means increased economies of scale for devices, platforms and services purpose-built for public safety to communicate, share and access information across jurisdictions.
The lead operator is ASTRID of Belgium, with PSC Europe serving as the Project Manager. There is a Technical Validation Committee (TVC) made up of representative agencies from Spain, Estonia, Finland, Romania, Greece, France, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands. Additionally, there is a Practitioner Evaluation Team (PEVT) chaired by the Bavarian Red Cross of Germany.
In 2018, the BroadWay Project held robust open market consultation with industry and first responders resulting in seven guiding use case scenarios and 11 objectives to achieve with the procurement (see below). Significant lessons learned from the Unites States’ FirstNet strategy were leveraged in this effort. Robust industry and public safety consultations were a hallmark of the FirstNet effort as well the use of objectives over requirements in the procurement process. On February 19, 2019 the BroadWay team launched the Request for Tender to procure the Pan-European interoperable broadband system for public safety, and responses are due June 3, 2019. In addition to the recent webinar, BroadWay hosted an in-person information day in Brussels on March 26, 2019. Vendors gave five minute pitches at the information day event to entice teaming arrangements.
The Project will be deployed in four phases. The first three phases consist of Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP). Phase One will award up to five parties €368,000 to design the solution from July to December 2019. Phase Two will down-select to a maximum of three parties and award €4.2M to deploy a prototype solution from April 2020 to March 2021. Phase Three will again down-select to a maximum of two parties and award €3M to develop a pilot and test the network from April 2021 to February 2022.
We look forward to observing the progress on this large-scale and robust initiative, and we will provide updates on the developments throughout 2019.