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EE and Nokia to build air to ground network for emergency services


Mark Say Managing Editor

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EE has signed an agreement with Nokia to build a nationwide 4G LTE (long term evolution) air-to-ground network for Great Britain’s emergency services.

It will be developed as an adjunct to EE’s contract with the Home Office for the mobile coverage element of the Emergency Services Network (ESN), providing an additional network at a higher altitude than the ESN at 500-10,000 feet.

EE said it will enable mission-critical coverage for emergency services and will be the world’s first use case for commercial 4G LTE broadband services in its field.

It is aimed at providing connectivity between ground and air operations, connecting personnel, sensors, aircraft and helicopters.

Seven-site pilot

As part of the agreement, EE – the mobile network operator which is part of the BT Group – will provide the active network equipment for a full reference facility and an initial trial network covering seven cell sites in North Wales and London. This will test the hardware capability and deployment process, the software capability and operational support.

It is planned that following the trial the company will deploy the equipment over 80 sites acquired by the Home Office.

Nokia will provide design support, additional network equipment, installation and commissioning services.

Richard Harrap, managing director ESN at EE, said: “With the help of this first ever air-to-ground network using commercial LTE, emergency services personnel will be able to rely on uninterrupted communications nationwide.”

Image from BT Group

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