Communications regulator Ofcom has proposed to make slices of the radio spectrum available for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
It has opened a consultation on the proposal, saying it will enable the service to adopt new digital technologies and modernise its communication systems.
PSNI currently manages its own communications network, named Barracuda, which also serves the region’s fire and ambulance services. This has a limited data capability and lacks the bandwidth necessary for modern technology.
The consultation document says that PSNI has been clear that it does not consider sharing a commercial network to be a viable option, and that it needs a spectrum allocation that can support a wide area network to support modern mobile solutions.
In response, Ofcom has proposed to make 2 × 3 MHz of the 700 MHz band (specifically 733 to 736 MHz paired with 788 to 791 MHz) and 2 x 4 MHz in the 800 / 900 MHz bands (specifically 876 to 880 MHz paired with 921 to 925 MHz) available for use by the PSNI.
These bands are currently unused in Northern Ireland and the regulator believes it is unlikely that alternative uses will emerge.
The consultation will run until 17 November.