Articles about Emergency Services

Emergency Services Network to be hit by delays, warn MPs

Hugely ambitious plans to replace the radio system used by the emergency services need more testing and are likely to face delays, the Public Accounts Committee has warned today. The £2.9bn Airwave contract, which dates from 2000, will be switched off at the end of 2019 and replaced by the 4G Emergency Services Network (ESN) …
Kat Hall, 25 Jan 2017

Emergency services 4G by 2020? And monkeys could fly out of my butt

Users of the UK government's plans to shove the emergency services on to a 4G network by March 2020 are sceptical about the programme's timetable. Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, since a scheme of this scale has never before been tried anywhere else in the world. The Emergency Services Network (ESN) – set to replace the Tetra …
Kat Hall, 17 Nov 2016

Ofcom finds 'reasonable grounds' that KCOM failed to maintain 999 services

UK comms watchdog Ofcom has today said it has "reasonable grounds" for believing operator KCOM failed to maintain emergency services access in Hull. KCOM notified Ofcom in February 2016 that its phone service in the region had suffered a “temporary reduction in availability.” In an update today the regulator said: "Ofcom has …
Kat Hall, 7 Oct 2016
Ambulance

UK South East Coast Ambulance slammed for creaking emergency dispatch IT

Ambulance service union the GMB has called for an urgent review of the UK's South East Coast Ambulance’s computerised dispatch system for control centre staff handling emergency calls. The union says staff have reported constant loading errors and regular system crashes that leave dispatchers unable to answer calls, contact …
Kat Hall, 19 Jul 2016

Airwave drops lawsuit against Home Office over EE contract win

Airwave will no longer be pursuing legal action against the Home Office over its decision to award part of a chunk of its Emergency Services Network contract to EE. A spokesman for Motorola said: "We can confirm that all disputes have now been settled and all litigation will be dropped." In December last year EE won part of …
Kat Hall, 24 Feb 2016

'Blue light services will get 4G on London Tube!' Cool, how? 'Errrrm...'

The government's contentious Emergency Services Network deal, intended to provide 4G coverage and devices for all blue light services, will be able to run on the London Underground, the man in charge of the scheme has insisted. Stephen Webb, senior responsible owner of the ESN deal, said: "We will have a solution that works on …
Kat Hall, 29 Jan 2016
Airwave has given the police reliable comms

Home Office seeks advice on Police Radio omnishambles

The Home Office has announced a new twist in the sorry tale of the Emergency Services Network saga and is asking suppliers to consult on a procurement framework that started two years ago. The government department has published a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for a tender to replace the Airwave communications equipment used …
Simon Rockman, 17 Aug 2015
The Turbo Ace Octocopter. Pic: Turbo Ace

Disaster-gawping cam drones to be blasted out of the sky in California

California politicians want emergency services to knock interfering drones out of the sky without fear of repercussion – after a gang of flying gizmos got in the way of firefighters tackling a terrifying blaze. Last Friday, a forest fire roared across Interstate 15 near Cajon Pass in southern California, forcing motorists to …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jul 2015
A bus on fire in Whaddon

Nice 4G-for-plods demo, Samsung. Good luck actually selling it

Samsung has staked its claim towards being an integral part of the emergency services with a demonstration of its public safety solution - the first based on the 3GPP Rel.12 standard - using LTE technology. A post on the official Samsung blog explains how 80 devices were connected to a network to demonstrate PS-LTE, or Public …
Simon Rockman, 2 Jun 2015
crash test dummies

Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

New cars sold in the EU will soon be able to call the emergency services without human intervention. A new law approved by MEPs on Tuesday will make the so-called eCall system obligatory for all new car models sold in the EU from April 2018. eCall uses the Europe-wide 112 emergency number to call the emergency services …
Jennifer Baker, 19 Mar 2015
Airwave has given the police reliable comms

Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'

In less than 18 months' time the police radio network will be switched off. There is no obvious replacement and the looming omnishambles is turning into a bonanza for Arqiva, the only company brave enough to offer a solution. Peter Neyroud CBE, former head of the National Policing Improvement Agency and now at the University …

What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?

Vodafone has been chided for misleading customers with a telly ad that wrongly implied that the majority of Blighty's emergency services' staff personally subscribed to the mobile operator. Britain's ad watchdog agreed with three out of four complaints submitted by the parent company of rival O2 - Telefonica UK. The TV …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Aug 2014

Who fancies a billion-quid bonanza? Just flog the Home Office some shiny walkie-talkies

The UK Home Office is touting a mega contract worth up to £1.2bn to build a next-generation comms network for Blighty's brave emergency services. Led by the Crime and Policing Group, under the auspices of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications programme, the new system must provide voice calls and wireless broadband …
Paul Kunert, 23 Apr 2014

Save spectrum for public safety: Oz parl't committee

Public safety users need broadband radio access and should be allocated 20 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, according to an Australian parliamentary report. Emergency services have been seeking extra spectrum for years, while the government has seen the 700 MHz frequencies vacated by TV broadcasters during the move to …
hands waving dollar bills in the air

London fire brigade outsources 999 control centre to Capita

The London fire brigade is to outsource its 999 control centre to Capita. The deal will see Capita run the call centre on behalf of the brigade and also supply a new 999 control system. The 10-year agreement is expected to save the brigade £5m over its lifetime and is expected to go live later this year. Under the contract, …

70 London 999 calls lost due to clock-change IT glitch

The London Ambulance Service trust has confirmed that more than 70 emergency calls were not visible to staff due to a technical fault caused by a switch from British Summer Time last year. A control room IT glitch led to the loss of the calls in October last year, the service said. According to an article in the Health …
The Register breaking news

Australian spectrum plan a win for carriers

Australia’s attorney-general has re-ignited the carriers-versus-emergency-services, creating a steering committee to develop a mobile broadband plan for public safety agencies. As spectrum is vacated in the digital TV rollout, Australian carriers have been drawing their wagons into a circle around the newly-available radio …
The Register breaking news

Carriers vs cops: Australia's spectrum conundrum

Australia, like other countries subsidising the broadcast and consumer electronics industries rolling out digital TV, is now preparing to auction the old analogue TV spectrum for the best price possible. The obvious answer is a spectrum auction, the obvious customer the telco industry. That has the tech press wildly imagining …

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