Delivery of a cheaper, smarter communications network that will enable more effective use of police, fire and ambulance resources has moved a step closer. The Home Office announced on 10 December that EE and Motorola Solutions would join Kellogg, Brown and Root to provide the emergency services with a more affordable and capable Emergency Services Network (ESN). Offering more flexibility than the old system, the new services will replace the existing system from mid-2017 as the current contracts expire.
Motorola Solutions will now be responsible for the delivery of the user services contract (Lot 2), providing systems integration and public safety functionality.
EE, winner of the mobile services contract (Lot 3), will be required to provide an enhanced radio access service with nationwide coverage.
Signing of the final contracts follows the announcement in the Spending Review that the Government has committed an additional £1bn to overhaul the emergency services network. The new network is expected to save the taxpayer £1m a day.
Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims Mike Penning said, “ESN will not only provide this capability to the three emergency services but over 300 other public safety organisations that rely on this ability everyday.
“We have carefully evaluated each bidder’s skills and expertise against requirements that were set by the emergency services themselves and are confident that the successful bidders will provide a world class communications network that our services deserve in today’s modern world.”
ESN will support a network based on 4G public safety LTE technology with voice and broadband data services, such as the ability to send photos and video, for Great Britain’s police, fire, rescue, ambulance and other public services.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee says, “We are immensely proud to be selected to deliver this vital new network for Britain’s emergency services. We’ve worked closely with the police and ambulance crews to show the power of 4G in helping save time and save lives. We will now work tirelessly to deliver a highly resilient, truly nationwide 4G network to serve all of Britain’s blue light and first responder teams across the UK.”
EE has already committed to spend £1.5bn on its network up to 2017, and will increase that investment in order to deliver the Emergency Services Network.
In order to deliver the mission critical Emergency Services Network (ESN), EE will: build a new, highly resilient dedicated core network for the emergency services; build more than 500 new sites, expanding coverage in rural areas; switch on low frequency 800MHz spectrum on more than 3800 sites to enhance rural and indoor coverage; implement the capability to afford network access priority to emergency services when required; implement VoLTE (calls over 4G), and new LTE voice capabilities including ‘push to talk’; deploy a fleet of rapid response vehicles to ensure maximum service availability; and implement satellite backhaul for Britain’s most hard-to-reach areas.
Work to enhance and expand the EE network has already commenced in order to be ready in time for the first transitions, and existing consumer, business and public sector customers will benefit from this. The dedicated EE Emergency Services team will work closely with the current provider, Airwave, the Lot 2 service provider, Motorola, and Lot 1 delivery partner KBR, as well as all 300,000 end users to manage a smooth transition to the new 4G network.