TCCA: QPP in question in some European countries

TCCA has published a white paper raising concerns around mission critical user access to commercial broadband networks.

The document focusses on the legal aspect of mission critical broadband rollouts, in particular how European regulations on net neutrality may affect “public safety operators that utilise radio coverage from commercial MNOs.”

The white paper highlights in particular an apparent disparity between nation states in the adoption of rules ensuring quality of service, priority and pre-emption (QPP) on mission critical networks. Discussing this in more detail, a spokesperson for the organisation said: “While some EU/EEA countries have already adopted national rules to enable the use of QPP services under an exemption, under the TSM regulation, others are only at the starting point of assessing the legal possibilities.

“There are indications that different countries may interpret the TSM regulation on net neutrality differently. In some countries, the possibility to prioritise PPDR by national law has not yet been considered. This could lead to an equal treatment of PPDR and other end users, even in emergency situations.”

According to a statement, TCCA believes that “modifications to the existing regulations at EU-level” will help to secure mission critical services for public safety across the continent. For future regulation, it says, “the mission critical communications community's needs should be included from day one.”

The spokesperson continued: “It is widely accepted that quality, priority and pre-emption is critical to secure effective mission-critical communications using commercial networks. The 3GPP standard and technical solutions currently available in the market support this.

“However, there is a concern whether it is possible to provide QPP services without breaching European regulation on net neutrality. Without QPP, PPDR users will have no priority above other mobile network users and may – if the traffic in the network is heavy – be prevented from communicating with other PPDR users.”

Chair of the TCCA Legal and Regulatory Working Group, Nina Myren, said: “It is essential that mission critical users have priority in a crisis situation if they are using a commercial network service, and QPP enables that. Through TCCA, we are promoting cooperation between countries to develop a common understanding of the TSM regulation, including its applicability, so that the challenges can be addressed. Speaking with one voice will help to address the issues at EU level.”

The TCCA white paper is called ‘Legal and regulatory aspects regarding the realisation of quality of service, priority and pre-emption (QPP) in commercial networks’. It has been published by the organisation’s Legal and Regulatory Working Group, and is available from TCCA's website.