The Home Office is currently evaluating bids for the Extended Area Services (EAS) project of the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) and expects to award contracts this month (September 2016), an HO spokesperson told Wireless.
EAS contracts are designed to extend 4G coverage into remote areas of the UK not covered by ESN’s main network provider – mobile operator EE. There are 38 EAS areas mostly in the West Country, central Wales, northern England and west Scotland. The expectation is that 231 base stations will be needed to provide adequate coverage.
Around 30% of the sites already exist and are owned by the current TETRA emergency services network provider Airwave Solutions Ltd (ASL) and by commercial mast site owners Arqiva and WIG (Wireless Infrastructure Group). 4G radio equipment supplied by EE will share space on their tower sites.
The remaining 70% will be new build sites, either provided by EAS winners or through EE’s own ESN specific sites programme. Where wired backhaul is not available, wireless hop sites will need to be installed or arrangements made for satellite backhaul.
In a separate contract, the air to ground coverage contract will use commercial base stations, but with additional 2.345 GHZ spectrum shared with the MoD. Ofcom is planning to auction 190 MHz of MoD spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz band later this year.
Photo Credit (Geograph.org): John Ferguson
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