Communications vendor, Motorola Solutions, with be extending the digital emergency services radio communications network in Western Australia as part of a five-year contract worth $40 million.
Motorola Solutions has had a longstanding relationship with emergency services organisations (ESO) for some time. Since 2005, the company has built an ESO digital communications network in WA’s greater metropolitan area. The new project will push that out to the rest of the state.
The Western Australia Police, Department of Corrective Services and Fire and Emergency Services Authority all use the digital communications network.
Work on the $40 million network extension has already started and is the physical rollout, which will start in early 2012, is expected to take around three and a half years.
The network will cover 20,000 square kilometres around Perth’s metropolitan area along with 25,000 additional square kilometres through regional areas. All together it would roughly cover 95 per cent of WA’s population.
While the digital emergency services network is ostensibly used for mission critical voice service like push-to-talk, narrowband data applications can be used on it as well such as short-message texting and radio encryption management.
“For the Western Australia police, this project means realising its ultimate vision of a digital mission critical network, statewide,” Motorola Solutions managing director, Gary Starr, told ARN. “You can imagine covering the state of WA is no easy task given its size but the police started this journey in the last decade.”
The advantage of a digital network, as opposed to analogue ones, is the ability to have a unified network across the state that can be managed from a central point.
Motorola will be rolling the new part of the network out in three stages which will involve more than 3250 two-way radio subscribers, 20 simulcast trunking sites, 180 P25 conventional sites and upgrade to the existing network’s central core.
Starr said this is a direct contract but the vendor will engage partners for help during the rollout.
The combined value of the old and new network is just above $120 million, according to Starr.
ESOs have broadband access in certain metropolitan areas and can build a layer on top of the digital network provide broadband coverage to more rural parts of the state although that seems an unlikely prospect for the short-term future.
“I just don’t think it is in their plan,” Starr said. “This is a big enough project on its own today.”
ESOs had been trying to save a piece of the 700MHz spectrum, due to be auctioned off by the ACMA, to build a public safety LTE network but have been met with strong opposition from the private sector.
The Federal Government has suggested the ESOs try for the 800MHz spectrum band instead.