U.K. wireless operator EE announced Thursday it has been selected by Britain’s Home office to provide the country with a new, resilient 4G network to connect emergency service providers.
EE said it will expand coverage and augment the network’s resilience to meet critical communications standards.
“We are immensely proud to be selected to deliver this vital new network for Britain’s Emergency Services,” EECEO Olaf Swantee said in a statement. “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 announcement follows the November release of Parliament’s 2015 spending review and autumn statement, in which the U.K. government laid out plans to invest nearly 1 billion pounds in building a new mobile digital technology through the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme.
According to the plan, the new network will connect all emergency services on the same broadband network for the first time to “enable officers to access key police databases, take mobile fingerprints and electronic witness statements and stream live body-worn video – all while on the move.” The effort, the government said, will cut costs for the taxpayer and free up officer capacity.
EE said its new 4G Emergency Services Network (ESN) will replace the country’s existing system when the current contracts expire in mid-2017.
The carrier said it had already planned to invest about $2.2 billion (1.5 billion pounds sterling) on network improvements through 2017, but will increase spending to successfully provide the new ESN.
As part of its investments for the new emergency network, EE plans a number of initiatives, including everything from building a dedicated core network to activating low frequency 800 MHz spectrum at more than 3,800 sites.
On Thursday, Motorola Solutions also announced it has signed a “Lot 2” contract to provide user services on the ESN.
The plan to build a network for emergency service providers is reminiscent of the United States Federal Communications Commission’s 2012 FirstNet project.
Plans for FirstNet include a nationwide network for first responders in the D block 700 MHz spectrum. Nearly $7 billion from the AWS-3 spectrum auction has been set aside for the network’s buildout, though doubts have arisen about the likelihood of completing the project at that price point.
Recently, Evercore pegged U.S. carrier Verizon as the most likely to be chosen to complete the buildout.
Filed Under: Infrastructure