This afternoon the Home Office issued a press release about the new strategic direction for the Emergency Services Network (ESN). This follows a commitment earlier this summer to undertake a full "re-plan, engage in commercial renegotiations and recalculate the Full Business Case."
Today's statement from the Home Office announces that emergency services will be able to start using the ESN in the New Year following a decision to roll the project out in phases. This phased approach will see blue lights organisations able to use data services over the ESN from early in 2019. and it is planned that voice capabilities will follow shortly after that.
Crucially, this incremental approach means emergency services will be 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," as Government Computing reported last month.
The Home Office announcement adds that "the decision secures the future of ESN, which will save the public purse £200 million a year once it has fully replaced the original radio-based network, Airwave... The dedicated 4G network will transform emergency services’ mobile working, especially in remote areas and at times of network congestion, with sim cards giving them priority over commercial users." A more detailed update will be provided to Parliament in due course.
If you're interested in the potential applications of 4G and 5G technology in the emergency services, come along to our event next month.