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Waving goodbye to TETRA
Published:  27 August, 2015

First contract for the new Emergency Services Network awarded in the UK.

Kellogg Brown and Root’s bid for Lot 1 of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme has been successful.

KBR is a major international operator specialising in technology-driven engineering, and has a track record in the management and delivery of large infrastructure schemes.

Negotiations with the preferred bidders for the remaining contracts – Motorola (Lot 2) and EE (Lot 3) are continuing and contract awards are expected in the autumn.

UK Minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mike Penning, commented: “We are determined that our goal to provide the UK’s emergency services with the best communications network in the world is implemented as quickly as possible and I am delighted that I can now announce we have awarded the first contract. We remain on course to sign further contracts later this year.

“Making sure our emergency services have the best tools to help them do their job is paramount. As well as offering the emergency services much more capacity, flexibility and functionality than the old system, the new network will also save the taxpayer well over £1bn over the next 15 years.”

The Emergency Services Network will use an enhanced commercial network to deliver broadband data services. The current service, Airwave, is run on a private mobile radio system.

On an enhanced commercial network the emergency services will get priority over other users, which will avoid the need for separate mobile radio spectrum.

The ESN will deliver integrated critical voice and broadband data services to all three emergency services and other users throughout the UK.

ESN could also offer the ability to share patient records and images with a paramedic on call or en route to hospital; it could provide building diagrams to help plan and coordinate fire fighting across multiple fire and rescue services.

The service for the three emergency services will be required to cover (approx.):

—250,000 operational staff across the three emergency services;

— 44 police and crime commissioners/services;

— 50 Fire and rescue authorities/services;

— 13 Ambulance Trusts;

— National Crime Agency;

— 3 non-Home Office police services

— National Police Air Service.

The procurement had been originally divided into four Lots that included integration, management, infrastructure and operating services:

Lot 1 – ESN Delivery Partner (DP) – transition support, cross-Lot integration and user support: a delivery partner to provide programme management services for cross-Lot ESN integration; programme management services for transition; training support services; test assurance for cross-Lot integration; and vehicle installation design and assurance.

Lot 2 – ESN User Services (US) – a technical service integrator to provide end to end systems integration for the ESN: provide public safety communications services (including the development and operation of public safety applications); provide the necessary telecommunications infrastructure; user device management; customer support; and service management.

Lot 3 – ESN Mobile Services (MS) – a resilient mobile network: a network operator to provide an enhanced mobile communications service with highly available full coverage in the defined Lot 3 area, highly available extended coverage over the Lot 4 telecommunications network, and technical interfaces to Lots 2 and 4).

Lot 4 – ESN Extension Services (ES) – coverage beyond the Lot 3 network: a neutral host to provide a highly available telecommunications network in the defined Lot 4 areas to enable the Lot 3 supplier to extend their coverage.

Lot 4 was cancelled in January 2015, according to the Home Office because Lot 3 tenders, along with mobile “industry-promised significant improvements in areas with poor mobile signal means plans for a national ‘extension to mobile services’ contract are redundant in their current form”.

The new services will replace the existing system from mid-2017 as the current contracts with Airwave expire.