Objective 5 - To contribute to and implement the new Emergency Services Network (ESN).
Where are we now?
The current communication service, Airwave, has served the emergency services effectively, and has averaged 99.9% availability since April 2010. It is, however an expensive system, with high costs per handheld or vehicle-mounted device per year, and its data capabilities are limited.
The current system is only suitable for voice communications and limited data transmission. The technology and standards require to deliver a fully functional replacement, that can meet current and future data transmission requirements, that does not yet exist. As such the UK Home Office, in line with the Government’s digitisation agenda, has embarked on the Emergency Services Mobile Communication Programme (ESMCP) to deliver a new Emergency Services Network (ESN).
What are we planning to do and why?
The new Emergency Services Network (ESN) will transform public safety in the UK when it launches. With integrated 4G voice and broadband data services, over two-hundred thousand users across police, fire and emergency medical services will benefit from mission critical data that is both reliable and secure.
The ESMCP will provide the next generation communication system, including integrated critical voice and broadband data services. ESN will be a mobile communications network with extensive coverage, high resilience, appropriate security and public safety functionality. This will allow the three emergency services (Fire, Police and Ambulance) to communicate effectively even under the most challenging circumstances.
How and when are we going to deliver this?
The ESN cutover timeline is based on Airwave contract end dates and the 4G network rollout. The Home Office is obligated to re-compete the first responder communication services once the Airwave contracts expire – the first in 2016 and the last in 2020.
As such, it is envisaged that ESN will be operational by 2020.
The design, build, testing and assurance period for ESN is predicted to take approximately 21 months (referred to as the mobilisation period). This will be followed by the transition, which involves converting users to the new network. This is estimated to take around 30 months.
We began the preparation work to allow us to access the ESN in February 2016.This included the procurement processes for hardware and software; preparation of the relevant networks; as well as staff training and awareness sessions.
How will we measure success?
Having a fully operational connection to the ESN upon completion of the project. It is expected to save money by using parts of an existing commercial 4G network, that of EE. International comparison work, commissioned by the National Audit Office, has concluded that the proposed ESN solution is the most advanced in the world, with only one other country – South Korea, seeking to deploy a similar solution.
What will this mean to you?
Along with other emergency services, we will have a network and system that will enable an integrated response to incidents. This collaboration with our partners will ensure a more efficient and cost effective service and will improve the service we provide to our communities. Improved situational awareness will allow users to make more efficient decisions and communicate under the most challenging conditions.
Which Well-being goals does this objective align to?