KBR Awarded First Contract in U.K. Public-Safety Broadband Tender
Thursday, August 27, 2015 | Comments

The U.K. Home Office announced the first Emergency Services Mobile Communications Program (ESMCP) contract was awarded for Lot 1 to Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) as the delivery partner for the program.

Negotiations with the preferred bidders for the remaining contracts — Motorola Solutions (Lot 2) and EE (Lot 3) — are continuing and contract awards are expected in the fourth quarter.

Atkins, Lockheed Martin and Mott MacDonald were also vying for the Lot 1 contract. The Home Office announced in July that only one potential commercial operator, EE, and one potential user services provider, Motorola Solutions, were still in the running.

The ESMCP will replace the existing Airwave TETRA private network, which provides mainly voice communications, from mid-2017 as current contracts expire. The new Emergency Services Network (ESN) will use a commercial 4G network to also deliver broadband data services.

KBR will be responsible for transition support, cross-lot integration and user support. This includes program management services for cross-lot ESN integration in transition, vehicle installation design and assurance, training support services and delivery support during the implementation of the ESN.

The company will deliver the program management and training working with Mason Advisory, Piran, MacNellies and Amethyst on other aspects of the program. The contract is scheduled to run for more than four and a half years and will be delivered by a team that includes a range of experts from both the public sector and industry, including the emergency services that will use the ESN.

“We are determined that our goal to provide the U.K.’s emergency services with the best communications network in the world is implemented as quickly as possible, and I am delighted that I can now announce we have awarded the first contract,” said Minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims Mike Penning. “We remain on course to sign further contracts later this year.

“Making sure our emergency services have the best tools to help them do their job is paramount. As well as offering the emergency services much more capacity, flexibility and functionality than the old system, the new network will also save the taxpayer well over £1 billion (US$1.5 billion) over the next 15 years.”

KBR is an international operator specializing in technology-driven engineering, procurement and construction, and is a market leader in the successful program management and delivery of large infrastructure schemes. Company officials said revenue associated with this project is estimated to be £30 million (US$46.2 million). KBR provides support services to the U.K. Metropolitan Police.

“We are delighted to have been selected by the Home Office to manage the transition of this critical communications service,” Andrew Barrie, head of government services for KBR, said. “At the heart of this program is public safety, and we look forward to playing our part in the delivery of an enhanced, more flexible, and more affordable communications and data capability, fit for our emergency services in the 21st century.”

Mason Advisory will support KBR by managing the rigorous testing and trials program, essential to ensure users have the confidence that the ESN meets mission-critical requirements and to provide assurance of the underlying ESN technology and service elements in partnership with the Home Office team.

“Those associated with the ESMCP all have a single goal: to deliver a mobile communications network worthy of those who work within our emergency services — often in difficult circumstances, said Duncan Swan, director at Mason Advisory. At Mason Advisory, we understand this goal and will bring our knowledge and experience of mission-critical systems to ensure ESN is fit for purpose through rigorous real-life test scenarios and through assurance of the systems and solutions.”

Mission-critical voice will not be added to the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard until Release 13, which won't be completed until the third quarter at the earliest. Manufacturers generally take at least 18 months to add the latest standards into products, industry experts said. 

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