Navigating the changing legal landscape

Chair of TCCA’s Legal and Regulatory Working Group (LRWG), Nina Myren, discusses the group’s aims and activities.

The LRWG focuses on the legal/regulatory issues related to the evolution from TETRA to mission critical broadband. Why has the group been convened?

The critical communications sector is moving towards broadband. The availability of standards, including test and certification schemes, is crucial.

In addition, there is a need for legal and regulatory frameworks that secure user needs during the system lifetime, in environments where market and technology change rapidly.

The existing regulations for the mobile communications sector were made before critical communications in commercial networks were discussed, and we see that there might be need for changes.

What can governmental operators do together to shape the critical broadband market, in order to deliver standardised and interoperable products?

A working group where common issues can be discussed would help in establishing common ground and best practices, and to drive regulatory work with one common voice.

We will typically deliver white papers and model procurement texts. The latter will be proposed requirements to be included when purchasing equipment or services.

Has there been any TCCA equivalent of the group before? How were these issues discussed in the past?

There have not been any government only-groups in the past. TCCA is bringing the community for critical communications together, and knowledge sharing is an important part.

When TCCA was The TETRA Association - focused on TETRA -, the community was smaller, and the value chain was much less complex. The critical broadband value chain is different, and more complex. Having a dedicated group on legal and regulatory matters meets our government members' needs.

How were the group objectives arrived at? What informed that process?

The group has shared views on objectives, and it was clear early on that there is a need to work together on many complex topics. We started as a European group in order to have a common regulatory framework.

However, we experience that many topics are of interest for most government operators around the world.

One of the objectives of the group is to facilitate deeper engagement between government operators.

Why is that necessary?

Governmental operators are all facing similar challenges. We are all building mission critical broadband networks and services for the first time.

Working together and learning from each other is important.

This is the approach that resulted in the success of the TETRA marker, with stakeholders - including competitors - working together to build a viable ecosystem.

Our users need mission critical solutions. It is for everyone’s benefit that approaches to solving problems are harmonised, including legal and regulatory ones.

Technology development does not stop. We need to ensure that new regulations also take care of our users' needs.

What are the intended outcomes? How does the group hope to influence the regulatory landscape?

The most important outcome is to identify issues that we need to address. It is also important to develop a common voice to express required changes, procurement guidelines and best practices.

Other tasks for the group include following up relevant work at national ecom regulators (NRAs) and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Plus, proposing common strategies in order to secure the interests of the critical communications community.

Can you give some examples of potential ‘common strategies’?

Our first deliveries will be two documents, hopefully ready for publication in September. The first is titled ‘TCCA Model Procurement Text Recommendations.’ This proposes model text that network operators, government agencies, and end-user organisations should incorporate within procurement tenders, contracts, and grant guidance documents, to identify the compliance requirement that equipment suppliers must meet.

By copying and adapting this model text, a government agency establishes the legal basis that ensures 3GPP MCX adoption. This topic was actually first discussed in our Critical Communications Broadband Group and is a good example of the cooperation between TCCA working groups to achieve common goals.

The second is a white paper titled: ‘Legal and Regulatory Aspects Regarding the Realisation of Quality of Service, Priority and Pre-emption (QPP) in Commercial Networks’.

In Europe, most operators of PPDR-broadband networks will cooperate with commercial network operators, to provide either full or partial PPDR services. This white paper discusses how the European regulation on net neutrality seems to affect public safety operators sharing networks with commercial mobile operators.

The LRWG is open to governmental operators of critical communications networks.

Nina Myren is a TCCA Board member, sponsored by DSB Norway.