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EE: 4G emergency services network will help 'save time and save lives'

Friday, December 11th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

EE has won part of a £1bn contract to provide a national mobile network to the UK's police, fire and ambulance services, giving 300,000 emergency workers access to 4G.

The operator won the mobile service services contract as part of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP), a programme set up to provide a more affordable, capable and flexible communications network for the emergency services.

The Home Office said the new network, dubbed the Emergency Services Network (ESN), “offers the prospect of transforming how the emergency services work”.

Uses could include transmitting live video from crime scenes via body-worn cameras, hospital consultants making remote diagnoses using high definition images and real-time 3D maps of buildings at fire scenes.

It said the new ESN – which will replace the existing TETRA system provided by Airwave from mid-2017 as current contracts expire – is expected to save the taxpayer £1m a day.

Mike Penning, minister for policing, criminal justice and victims, said: “Following the government’s £1bn commitment in the Spending Review, I am delighted to announce today’s major achievement in providing the emergency services with a new modernised communications network that is able to protect the public and save lives.

“ESN will not only provide this capability to the three emergency services but over 300 other public safety organisations that rely on this ability every day.

“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.”

EE has already committed to spend £1.5bn on its network up to 2017, and the company said it will increase that investment in order to deliver the ESN.

'Immensely proud'

It said work to improve the EE network has already started and a dedicated EE Emergency Services team will work closely with Airwave, as well as Motorola and Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), who have been awarded other contracts as part of the programme, to manage a smooth transition to the new 4G network.

EE's work will include the creation of a new, resilient dedicated core network for the emergency services, expanding coverage in rural areas, the use of low frequency spectrum to enhance rural and indoor coverage, and the ability to give emergency services priority on the network when needed.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “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.”

The new ESN will provide for 44 police services, 50 fire and rescue authorities, 13 ambulance trusts, the National Crime Agency, the National Police Air Service, the British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

Around 250,000 operational staff will access the network using a number of devices across the three emergency services.

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