How to build broadband for public safety - and get results

Published: 13 Aug 2019
Author: Tapio Savunen
Reading time: 3 min

Want to make a success of introducing mission-critical broadband to public safety? Read our three pointers to a successful project and get a tip on where you can find more information.

First point – it’s not about moving from one technology to another

It takes more than just getting the technology right to adopt mission-critical broadband successfully. So, why do we often focus on updating or replacing the existing infrastructure? Instead, we should look for the new services that can be offered to public safety users!

A straight switch from one system to another can be dangerous. You might think it’s a good idea to close down your existing system and move to a broadband-only network “to save money,” but you may actually end up spending more.


You don’t want to do this only to realize that the original system will be needed for a good few years yet.

To avoid this, step away from the technology and think about why you want it and how you will go about it.

Second point – communication technology must not fail

Mission-critical communication is vital to public safety operations - get it wrong and lives could be at risk.

First responders know this all too well and won’t adopt new solutions without confidence that they are fully verified.


Third point – don’t just replace TETRA radios with smartphones

And don’t think you can simply replace professionals’ radios with smartphones. This is another drastic shift and doesn’t consider how people work.

Any new solution must support how people work now, while also offering new capabilities.

And when planning those new capabilities, make sure you involve the users, so they get what they actually need.

Overlooking any of these three points could spell disaster for your project, so make sure you get them right.

How can I minimize the risks?

Plan for a hybrid approach when building broadband for public safety - evolution rather than revolution will minimize risks. Download this paper: "How to minimize risks when introducing mission-critical broadband" and you will know how.

Download exec briefing


Hybrid networks offer the best of both worlds

Hybrid solutions offer a smooth transition to mission-critical broadband.

In a hybrid network, public safety organizations continue with their existing TETRA network for mission-critical voice and data and adopt broadband step-by-step.

There are a few options here. Broadband services can be based on a dedicated broadband network, or commercial services with a Secure MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). Alternatively, they can use a combination of the two. Investment is easy and can be done as and when needed.

Broadband capabilities in a hybrid network offer more value for users, and a seamless move from the old to the new - users stay happy and won’t start looking for their own communication solution.


In the hybrid model, mission-critical voice and short data communication can remain on TETRA for many years to come. Data will gradually be introduced on 4G/5G with specific collaboration solutions, hybrid networks and devices.

How do I succeed?

Download this paper and learn the seven proven reasons why seamless evolution is so much better than disruptive migration.

Download exec briefing


Want to know more about the whole evolution path? take a look at these 14 great resources that will help you evolve your PMR network to broadband, provided by Key Touch magazine.

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The Mission Is Critical blog gives you insights into professional and public safety broadband, mission critical user experience, secure and critical communications, hybrid narrowband-broadband solutions and dual-mode devices, and Tetrapol and TETRA radios.