U.K. Home Office, Motorola Agree on ESN Phased Approach, Airwave Extension
Friday, September 21, 2018 | Comments

The U.K. Home Office and Motorola Solutions reached an agreement on terms for the new direction of the U.K. Emergency Services Network (ESN), as well as an agreement on terms to extend the Airwave nationwide digital radio network, a Motorola statement said.

The ESN agreement supports the phased deployment of the ESN program, ensuring that public-safety organizations will benefit from the new network’s capabilities as soon as possible. Public-safety organizations will be able to roll out the capabilities of the ESN at their desired pace while maintaining the Airwave network service to ensure uninterrupted service.

As part of its delivery of ESN user services, Motorola will implement a Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards-based push-to-talk (PTT) software solution. The platform uses technology from Kodiak Networks, which Motorola acquired in 2017. ESN officials traveled to the U.S. in June to research the Kodiak PTT solution. To allow for the new phased deployment strategy, the Motorola Solutions ESN agreement will be extended by 30 months through the end of 2024.

The Airwave agreement, which is expected to be completed later in the year, will extend the network on substantially similar terms for three additional years to Dec. 31, 2022, with the option for further extension. Motorola will also upgrade the public-safety network to ensure it continues to meet public-safety user requirements. The network was originally expected to go offline in 2020, but Motorola signed an agreement with Vodafone to keep the network live beyond that year.

In a statement, the Home Office said it set a new strategic direction for the ESN following an in-depth review, although full details will be provided to the U.K. parliament "in due course." A full review of the program was due at end-July. 

"The new incremental approach means police, fire and rescue services, ambulance services and other users will be able to use data services over the network from early next year, with voice capabilities following soon after," the statement said. "It will also leave the emergency services free to test and choose which ESN products they want as and when they become available, rather than having to wait for the network to be fully implemented."

The Home Office also said in addition to PTT, products will include a package of telephone, messaging and data services and an air-to-ground communications app. ESN also has the potential to enable emergency services to communicate on the London Underground.

“We are proud to support the Home Office on its new delivery approach for ESN while at the same time ensuring public-safety users have the Airwave communications network they need,” said Kelly Mark, executive vice president, services and software at Motorola Solutions. “We have been working closely with the Home Office to ensure that our services are aligned with this new phased deployment and timeline for ESN.”

The Home Office said it is engaging with its commercial partners, EE and Motorola, regarding future changes to their contracts.

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