By Dean Prochaska, Senior Director of Standards
The June quarterly Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) meetings in Newport Beach, CA addressed standards in several areas relevant to the evolution of the public safety broadband communications and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).
The major topic across the 3GPP plenary meetings was planning for 3GPP Release 17 (R17). This release will be built on the work and features already defined in earlier releases. In particular, R17 will build upon R16, which is expected to be frozen by March 2020. The expected freeze date for R17 is June 2021. This is still a preliminary target date that has created significant discussion and should be firmed up by December. There are many diverse interests in 3GPP and the planning for a release involves much discussion and compromises among operators, vendors, and other entities, such as the FirstNet Authority. The following information provides details on each of the plenary meetings.