Vic emergency radio network gets $130m extension

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Vic emergency radio network gets $130m extension

Motorola Solutions has announced a four-year, $130 million extension of its 2004 radio network contract with the Victorian government’s Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA).

The business solutions division of the US technology giant was created last year following the spin-off of the Motorola Mobility group, which was subsequently bought by Google in August for $US12 billion.

Motorola Solutions has undertaken to upgrade, extend and manage ESTA’s metropolitan mobile radio network (MMR) from July this year until 2016 with the option of adding a further four years. Melbourne-based integrator Crosscom is assisting with the project.

The MMR network played a key role in connecting emergency services personnel during the devastating Black Saturday fires which ravaged Victoria in early 2009. First signed in 2004, it is one of Australia’s first emergency services contracts designed around a public-private model whereby services and support are delivered in collaboration between public and private sector organisations.

The upgrade contract signed this week by Motorola Solutions and ESTA will involve a number of technical upgrades to support the migration of the network and accompanying infrastructure to a full IP-based architecture.

“The new agreement will enhance the network with the latest in communications technology, allowing our emergency services personnel to focus on best protecting and serving our communities, while saving time and lives,” said Ken Shymanski, chief executive of ESTA.

Motorola said it would also increase general levels of service, in particular bolstering its Motorola Solutions’ managed services team to bring support levels at Ballarat’s state emergency communications centre into line with those currently delivered to emergency personnel based out of Melbourne.

"The new network draws on our strong services heritage, and expands existing service provision levels, guaranteeing that emergency services agencies will continue to receive the same high and stringent levels of service and network availability, while ensuring enhanced capability in the field, ultimately helping protect and save lives across the state," said Motorola Australia managing director Gary Starr.

Crosscom founder and director Craig Ross said his company had been engaged by Motorola to provide most of the maintenance and management associated with the MMR network, including support for radios, display terminals in vehicles and ruggedised Motorola laptops.

“The KPIs are very tight,” Ross said. “We have a commitment not just to the turnaround of equipment but also the completion of paperwork associated with equipment.” This included the management of strict procedures governing the issue of new equipment for police, something Ross said was often tedious and time consuming, for which he admitted Crosscom tried to compensate by offering men and women in blue free coffee and cake from the corner store.

“But I’m not sure that’s completely legal,” he said.

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