The 8-year old trial of the new digitial radio system for the emergency services (not just the Gardaí) has come under some fire for its delay in provisioning, with Gardaí having to use their own mobile phones, at their personal expense, in many cases where sensitive communications is required, or in an area not served by the existing analouge system.
Today, however, saw a step in the right direction with ComReg issuing the licence application details for the new TETRA system. Bear in mind that this system will only be used by state bodies and national organisations for emergency and state protection use only, when reading the next paragraph.
The cost for the licence is an index-linked cool €100,000 per pair of 1MHz spectrum allocations (out of a possible 10MhHz). So ComReg is charging up to €0.5m for the spectrum to be used for emergency services only, by state bodies, or state-endorsed bodies, only!
Given that the spectrum is limited, that the system will be nationwide (overlap of frequencies in the different cells), used by multiple users, groups and organisations (multiple channels, eating up bandwidth), and will allow for local communications (think PTT for those who know) as well as remote-to-base, it is likely that the entire spectrun will be used up in time.
Shouldn’t the licence fee for state emergency services radio spectrum be cost-based?