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Shortlists announced for UK’s new £1.2bn Emergency Services Network

Incumbent provider Airwave Solutions, EE, Vodafone and Telefonica O2 feature heavily in the shortlists for the two network infrastructure elements, while Motorola, Astrium, CGI IT and HP go up against Airwave for the network management

Shortlists announced for UK’s new £1.2bn Emergency Services Network

The Home Office has announced the shortlists for the new Emergency Services Network (ESN), which will replace the Airwave narrowband TETRA network currently used by the UK’s police, fire and ambulance services.

The companies which have been invited to tender for the four lots that make up ESN include:

Lot 1 - ESN Delivery Partner (DP) - managing the transition from old to new systems - £60m-£95m:
•    Atkins
•    Kellogg Brown and Root
•    Lockheed Martin UK
•    Mott MacDonald

Lot 2 - ESN User Services (US) - developing and operating the telecoms infrastructure and public safety applications, installing equipment and making sure everything is integrated and works - £120m-£245m:
•    Airwave Solutions
•    Astrium
•    CGI IT UK  
•    HP Enterprise Services UK
•    Motorola Solutions UK

Lot 3 - ESN Mobile Services (MS) - providing an enhanced mobile communications network service with enhanced availability for the emergency services and highly available full coverage - £200m-£530m:
•    Airwave Solutions
•    EE
•    Telefonica UK
•    UK Broadband Networks,
•    Vodafone

Lot 4 - ESN Extension Services (ES) - providing a highly available telecoms infrastructure covering parts of the UK outside regular mobile network coverage - £175m-£350m:
•    Airwave Solutions
•    Arqiva
•    EE
•    Telefonica UK
•    Vodafone

Tenders will be submitted in the autumn and will then be subject to detailed evaluation. Contracts will be awarded in 2015 and the new ESN, designed to help the emergency services protect the public and save lives, will go live from 2016/17.

The combined value of the four lots is estimated to be between £555m and £1,220m depending on the extent of take up of services by other Government and local public safety bodies in addition to the three emergency services and any extension options.

Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, Damian Green, said: “Interest in providing the new emergency services network and its supporting elements has been strong with 34 organisations completing in-depth pre qualification questionnaires. After rigorous evaluation by the Home Office and representatives of the emergency services we are now inviting those organisations we consider to be best suited to tender formally for the work.

“We remain on track to deliver this key part of our critical national infrastructure by the end of 2016 and today marks another step towards the emergency services having the modern communications network they need to protect the public and save lives.”

The new network is being developed in close partnership with the emergency services and will add broadband data capabilities that are increasingly used to help save lives.

The ESN is expected to require an enhanced commercial network to deliver broadband data services. If it is used for voice communications, the emergency services will have priority over other users, avoiding the need for a separate and expensive mobile radio spectrum.

The ESN contract is being managed by the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) - a Home Office led, cross-departmental programme set up to provide ‘cheaper, better and smarter communications services for the emergency services’.

The contracts for the existing emergency services systems provided by Airwave Solutions will begin to expire in September 2016 with the last ending in 2020. A replacement service is necessary and re-competition is legally required by the expiry in 2020 of the existing contracts.

The Home Office wants to deliver broadband data services on which the emergency services increasingly rely. The Airwave TETRA service can carry data, but at limited speeds. The HO said that as there is no spectrum available to the emergency services it is not currently possible or thought affordable to procure another private network.

The three emergency services (3ES) service will be required to provide for approximately 250,000 operational staff (with a broadly equivalent number of connected mobile communication devices, taking into account the proportion of staff with a device, vehicles and pools of spare devices) across the 3ESs:
•    44 police and crime commissioners/services
•    50 fire and rescue authorities/services
•    13 ambulance trusts
•    National Crime Agency
•    Three non-Home Office police services (British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary)
•    National Police Air Service

ESN will also provide a service for more than just the 3ES. Over 400 government and local public safety and other bodies use the current system and will potentially require the ability to use ESN.

These other bodies may add up to approximately 50,000 additional connected devices, and may include the central government departments, non-departmental public bodies and agencies, local authorities in Great Britain and a number of charitable bodies and other organisations that interact with public safety bodies.

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