The final phase of the BroadWay Pre-Commercial Procurement

22 August 2023

The final phase of the BroadWay Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) reaches an important technical milestone and clearly demonstrates that the challenges defined by practitioners are technically feasible.

During the last two weeks of March 2022, BroadWay supply teams led by Airbus and Frequentis separately demonstrated their BroadWay phase 3 pilot innovative solutions and tests to the BroadWay Group of Procurers (the Technical Validation Committee (TVC)).

Their technical challenge to solve is Operational Mobility which means the ability for responders to communicate wherever they are, whenever they need to and with whoever they are tasked to cooperate.

During these technical validation events, TVC witnessed full functionality of Mission Critical services (3GPP standardized MC-PTT, MC-Video and MC-Data: MCX) and associated applications and devices, used in the context to validate that Operational Mobility is a technical reality.

Group communication is a classical operational capability in all public safety communications, especially for Push to Talk. TVC witnessed Push to Talk voice calls, classical group messaging services and also Push to Video, allowing live video captured from one smartphone to be seen by all mobile users in the chosen group, wherever they are.

Also fully functional MC services were presented, which are extended to allow the joining of groups from one MCX system to another. This enables the possibility for MCX systems to interconnect between different systems in different countries. Groups of practitioners in one country can communicate with groups of practitioners in another country, without any need to disclose individual operational detail of individual systems or user details.

This cross connectivity was realized in 2 scenarios. In each scenario, the consortium’s solution was connected to MCX system of other consortium, meaning that groups from both solutions were cross connected. MC-PTT calls were made between apps on the Frequentis chosen devices and apps on the Airbus chosen devices. This was demonstrated in person and online to show MC-PTT calls being made between 2 solutions. When Airbus solution is used – devices/groups from Belgium, Slovenia and Latvia were cross connected with Frequentis devices/groups in Spain. When Frequentis solution is used – devices/groups from Spain, Austria and France were cross connected with Airbus devices/groups in Belgium.

Conclusion: Pan-European MC-PTT calls were made across different Mission Critical service apps, using different devices and different MCX service implementations in different countries and operating on different networks.

Both teams make their implementation using both private mobile networks and sharing over commercial mobile radio access. This accommodates the expectation that different deployments of mission critical mobile broadband networks will be implemented differently in each country.

BroadWay pilots will concretely show how it is possible for firefighters, policemen or emergency units to move from their country to another country and to remain seamlessly connected to their operational hierarchy, control and colleagues in the field  and  also to collaborate with colleagues in another country.

Three pilots are planned in June and July 2022:

  • 2 individual pilots run by Airbus consortium (Forest Fire in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Drug smuggling in Kerkrade, The Netherlands)
  • 2 individual pilots run by Frequentis consortium (Ferry Fire in Malaga, Spain and Drug smuggling in Kerkrade, The Netherlands)

The pilots will involve practitioners from across Europe, mostly carrying out local response activities, and others cooperating remotely from different countries.

BroadWay results will be presented also during the upcoming PSCE conference to be held in Salzburg. Presentations will cover all aspects: the challenges, the practitioner evaluation, the innovative solutions developed by each consortium.

The BroadWay Group of Procurers includes 11 ministries or their delegated agency responsible for providing public safety communication capabilities in their country. They currently provide mobile communication services to 1.4 million responders across Europe. The countries involved in the BroadWay PCP include: Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Romania and Spain. The lead procurer is ASTRID, the operator for emergency and security communication services in Belgium.


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