ESN achieves new milestone
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The UK government's LTE-based planned replacement for Airwave, the Emergency Services Network, has achieved its first successful demonstration over a live public mobile system.

According to a statement from the Home Office, the test took place at the beginning of February, between an EE mobile mast site in Bristol and a separate location in Basingstoke. It is the first time the network has linked with Motorola Solutions’ software, with the company providing ‘user services’ to the project.

The test included a Push-To-Talk one-to-one call, a PTT group call, a VoLTE telephone call, as well as 'critical' messaging and internet browsing. It was carried out using ESN’s public safety applications, loaded onto a Samsung S8 smart-phone. The test also demonstrated emergency services prioritisation.

Speaking of the exercise, minister for policing and the fire service Nick Hurd said: “This is a complex project which will provide the emergency services with the most advanced communications system of its kind anywhere in the world. Successful tests like these are an excellent achievement.

“Members of the public are already seeing some of the incidental benefits of the project, like its improvement of the 4G mobile network. Ninety per cent of the UK is now covered.”

Other milestones flagged up by the government include the production of 130 handheld devices for testing, as well as new rapid response vehicles. Transport for London has also now laid ‘leaky feeder’ cables in almost 100km of its tunnels, with another 320 to go.

The news comes at the end of a difficult week for the programme, with the Public Accounts Committee requesting a second National Audit Office review of the project in the light of potential further delays to final roll-out.

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