ESN's 'new strategic direction'
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

The UK Home Office has announced what it describes as “a new strategic direction” for the Emergency Services Network, following its review of the programme.

The Home Office says that this decision has secured the future of ESN and that the programme will result in £200 million in savings per year once it has fully replaced the Airwave TETRA-based network.

According to a press release from Motorola Solutions an agreement between it and the Home Office over the Airwave network is expected to be completed later this year and will “extend the network on substantially similar terms for three additional years to Dec. 31, 2022, with the option to be further extended. The company will also upgrade this critical public safety network to ensure the requirements of public safety users continue to be met.”

The same release also stated that as part of its delivery of ESN User Services, Motorola Solutions will implemented a 3GPP standards based push-to-talk (PTT) solution. This will use technology from Kodiak Networks, which was acquired by Motorola Solutions in 2017. Due to the Home Office’s new phased deployment strategy for ESN, the Motorola Solutions ESN agreement will be extended by 30 months through the end of 2024.

The new strategic direction for the programme consists of an incremental approach, which the Home Office claims will mean that “…police, fire and rescue services, ambulance services and other users will be able to use data services over the network from early next year, with voice capabilities following soon after.” It closely matches the approach that was previously discussed at the BAPCO Satellite Series event in Edinburgh back in June.

The Home Office adds that this approach will also allow the emergency services to be able to test and choose which ESN products they want as and when they become available, rather than having to wait for the network to be fully implemented. In addition to the PTT solution to be provided by Motorola Solutions, products for ESN will include a package of telephone, messaging and data services, and an air to ground communications app.

“We are proud to support the Home Office on its new delivery approach for ESN while at the same time ensuring public safety users have the Airwave communications network they need,” said Kelly Mark, executive vice president, services and software at Motorola Solutions. “We have been working closely with the Home Office to ensure that our services are aligned with this new phased deployment and timeline for ESN.”

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