In 2016 existing TETRA contracts with the police service begin to expire and the Home Office is currently in the process of reviewing the future communications options. The aim is to identify what the next generation of emergency services communications will look like using next generation commercial networks (4G LTE).
The new service will be called the Emergency Services Network (ESN). British APCO supports the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) approach to provide the ESN through the use of 4G/LTE as the platform, and the need to drive down costs through the use of commercial networks.
ESMCP will provide the next generation communication system for the 4 emergency services (police, fire and rescue, ambulance and coastguard) and other public safety users.
ESN will be a mobile communications network with extensive coverage, high resilience, appropriate security and public safety functionality. This allows users to communicate even under the most challenging circumstances.
ESN will enable integrated critical voice and broadband data services that are:
- enhanced: to provide integrated broadband data services
- flexible: to better match and be responsive to user needs
- affordable: to address financial pressures on central and user budgets
In addition to the emergency services, over 300 other organisations are active users of the current emergency communication service. ESMCP is working with them to help manage their transition to ESN.