O2 on the air

O2 Airwave have secured a 10 year contract to deliver national Tetra communication services to all ambulance trusts in England.

Jul 28, 2005
By Keith Potter
Picture: South Central Ambulance Service

The announcement marks another step towards establishing interoperable communications between the three main emergency services. Recent events appear to have vindicated the £2.9bn PFI roll-out of the national Airwave service to police forces across Britain.

The network has already played a critical role in three major operations in its first summer of nationwide service, providing digital radio communications for UK and international police contingents who provided the security for the Trafalgar Bicentenary and the G8 conference in Gleneagles. Airwave is also playing a key role in co-ordinating current anti-terror activity in London. According to O2 the British Transport Police have praised the functionality of the technology following the tube attacks on the 7th July.

Ambulance Trusts across England are committing to a three year roll-out and a ten year contract worth £390m to the consortium led by O2 but which includes SunGard Vivista. The Office of the Deputy Prime minister is expected to make a decision on the Fire Service contract within the next three months, while London Underground are also considering the technology within their ‘London Connects’ modernisation program.

Jeff Parris, VP of O2 Airwave, told Police Professional that Airwave performed ‘faultlessly’ during all three recent operations. At one point during the G8 an estimated 2,000 officers were operating from a single mast site without any performance deterioration.

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