The Home Office has signed Capita to develop a solution to support the migration from the current Airwave system and the developing Emergency Services Network (ESN).
It will allow emergency services to use both of the networks for critical communications, interfacing with Airwave while being compliant with ESN.
The value and duration of the deal have not been disclosed. UKAuthority has asked when the solution will be deployed but so far without reply.
Paul Eggleton, managing director of Capita’s Secure Solutions and Services, said: “This is a crucial development project that will form part of the migration process, we have worked closely with the Home Office and Emergency Services Network team and look forward to supporting our pilot clients in the next phase of the programme.”
ESN will provide a higher bandwidth to enable police, ambulance and fire and rescue services to make more use of data service, and is aimed at enhancing secure voice channels for operational purposes.
But its development has been beset by delays. Over the past year the National Audit Office and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee have published reports that have been highly critical of the programme’s progress, highlighting factors such as insufficient governance arrangements and high levels of risk.
The Home Office has extended two key contracts for its delivery: with Motorola Solutions for user services and with EE for mobile coverage, radio equipment, technical interfaces, management capabilities, critical mobile communications and support services.
Picture from Scott Davidson (modified), CC 2.0 via flickr