Swaledale Mountain Rescue's DMR Tier III system - a backup for ESN?

Philip Mason visits Swaledale Mountain Rescue, whose recent roll-out of DMR Tier III may just point the way to a viable off-network ESN fallback

There are massive implications, both good and bad, for UK public safety comms following the imminent roll-out of the Emergency Services Network.

On the one hand, the network will, once it’s up and running, open the way to a whole new world of high bandwidth applications. These could range from something as seemingly elementary as sending an email, through to video communication between emergency services in real time.

Less positive meanwhile is the possibility that in the very worst case scenario, ESN might be a step backwards in mission-critical PTT functionality compared to the current tried-and-tested Airwave system. Indeed, it has been suggested – and not without reason – that if the Home Office and its partners get it wrong in terms of devices and coverage, lives could be lost.

As much of a game changer as the Emergency Services will undoubtedly be, it’s important to remember that there are core public safety organisations for whom mission-critical LTE will only ever be a marginal solution, primarily due to budgetary restrictions.

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