Australia to Issue Tender for Next-Generation Triple Zero Service
Thursday, June 29, 2017 | Comments

The Australian government plans to issue a request for tender (RFT) to deliver the next-generation Triple Zero emergency call service with integrated location-based data services. The tender process follows an expression of interest (EOI) process conducted in late 2016.

The commencement of a tender is an important step in delivering the capability to provide emergency services with the GPS location of a person calling Triple Zero from a mobile phone. GPS data will assist in emergencies where callers are unable to provide details of their location.

Two separate EOI processes were conducted – one for the emergency call service and a second for location-based data services. Following feedback received in the EOI processes, a single tender for both services will deliver the best value for government and the most effective outcome for the Triple Zero service.

The EOI process identified the advanced mobile location (AML) technology standard as the preferred solution for providing the location-based data. AML delivers accuracy of up to five meters and automatically provides the caller’s location to emergency services, with built-in privacy safeguards ensuring only emergency responders have access to location data for the purpose of the Triple Zero call.

While AML has been identified as the preferred solution, the tender will specify that any Triple Zero technology platform must be sufficiently flexible to implement additional or alternative technologies if and when they become available in the future.

The tender will be published on the AusTender website in the near future. A condition of the tender process will be that Triple Zero service must continue to be based in Australia and serviced by an Australian contact center.

Until the outcome of the RFT is finalized and implemented, the community is encouraged to download the Emergency+ app, which provides location coordinates that can be read out to Triple Zero operators should the need arise.

Telstra, and its predecessor organizations, has provided Australia’s emergency call service since 1961. Since 2012, Telstra has provided the service under regulation and contractual arrangements with the Australian government. The contract includes a provision for a competitive tender process to occur. If a new supplier is not engaged as a result of the procurement process, Telstra will continue to deliver the emergency call service.

The government also took steps to ensure the sustainability of the National Relay Service (NRS), an important communications safety net for people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment.

The government has released an implementation plan proposing changes to the NRS to ensure that the service continues to be funded at the same level as the existing funding allocation, and that all existing communications options remain available to NRS users under the current contracts.

The plan includes a tender for the continued provision of the NRS, ensuring that the existing total annual funding allocation of $22 million remains in place. This process is expected to commence in the near future.

The implementation plan is available here.

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