Britain’s Emergency Services are to have access to 4G voice and data services for the first time following the Home Office’s decision to use EE’s 4G Emergency Services Network to replace the existing TETRA system.
The agreement, as part of the Governments’ £1 billion Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) will be available to 300,000 critical emergency workers, with EE being chosen due to having the most extensive 4G coverage.
Suggested applications of the service include ambulance crews sending patient data on to the hospital before arrival, police officers recording and live streaming arrests to nearby officers and fire and rescue crews accessing building blueprints and live helicopter feeds from tablets.
EE said this will significantly improve the efficiency of Emergency Services and the network has also promised to:
- Build more than 500 new 4G sites
- Develop a resilient core system
- Switch on low frequency 800MHz spectrum on over 3,800 sites to improve rural and indoor coverage
- Deploy rapid response vehicles
- Increase its existing £1.5 billion network investment programme
- Implement LTE voice capabilities such as “push to talk”
- Use satellite backhaul for the most hard to reach places
EE to TETRA switchover
The switchover from TETRA to 4G will begin from mid-2017 when the first of the current contracts expires. In this time, the EE Emergency Services team are to work with current provider Airwave, Lot 2 service provider Motorola, Lot 1 delivery partner KBR and the emergency service end users to ensure a smooth transition.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee discussed the impact the deal will have, “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.”