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  • Date : July / 03 / 2014
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PowerTrunk leads the TETRA market in North America

Jose Martin, CEO of PowerTrunk looks at the health of TETRA in North America

Darlington_-_1.jpgFollowing the successful deployment of the BC Hydro TETRA network in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, another Canadian utility has awarded PowerTrunk a very significant contract. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) issued an RFP for the procurement of a Rapid Deployment Disaster Management Communication System for its Darlington and Pickering nuclear power generating stations which PowerTrunk won with an innovative TETRA-based solution. On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake followed by a tsunami struck the east coast of Japan, causing widespread damage, including loss of safety equipment and a total loss of power at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The disaster triggered concerns worldwide about the necessity of resilient, secure and capable communication systems which could be rapidly deployed in the event of similar catastrophic events at nuclear power stations, OPG being one of the first utilities which took practical steps to mitigate the risk of losing all telecommunication links when they are most needed. In this regard, PowerTrunk has contributed with its cutting-edge TETRA technology, its engineering and project management capabilities, and its willingness to customise. All components in the system, including voice and data dispatching platforms, are rapidly deployable and powered by autonomous means.

TETRA has emerged as a powerful solution to meet mission-critical land mobile radio requirements in North America. The barriers PowerTrunk overcame in 2011 and 2012 with its first awards can’t prevent American and Canadian users any longer from choosing TETRA as the most effective technology to accomplish their goals. In the midst of a not completely understood transition between legacy radio technologies and wireless broadband solutions, TETRA figures as the only data-capable option which, simultaneously, is mission-critical-capable. In other words, TETRA is everything but a legacy technology as the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA) has stated several times. TETRA will stay as the preferred radio technology over the next ten years or more.

PowerTrunk, not insensitive to any market trends, advocates hybrid TETRA-LTE networks in the medium and long term as indeed LTE can provide data throughput enough to implement certain applications of the users’ interest (e.g. video) while general coverage and critical functionality are guaranteed by a state-of-the-art narrowband technology such as TETRA. For these reasons, PowerTrunk understands very well that LTE will never replace LMR in the field of cost-effective, mission-critical-capable, spectrum-efficient radio networks. Therefore, both worlds (narrowband and broadband) will cooperate rather than compete.

With regards to PowerTrunk’s evolution in the US, New Jersey Transit, Academy Bus and ARINC (Rockwell-Collins) for Los Angeles International Airport deployed TETRA networks that became operational in 2013. NJ Transit’s is the largest with thirty-five radio sites. Over 4,000 buses and 200 light rail trains will be served. The Super Bowl 2014 held in New York and New Jersey last February was the perfect showcase to demonstrate how TETRA can enhance transit’s operation in critical environments. In addition, GE Transportation awarded PowerTrunk a contract last March to integrate its PTC-qualified ITCS rail signaling system with TETRA in Colombia. Other end-users are expected to join the emergent American TETRA community in the near future.

Image: Darlington nuclear power station. Ontario Power Generation

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