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Motorola Solutions wins AU$261m public safety radio upgrade contract

Motorola Solutions will expand and update the radio comms network for Victorian police, fire, and ambulance services, as well as providing data, GPS, location, online reporting, interface, and software-defined solutions.

Motorola Solutions has announced winning a AU$261 million seven-year contract to extend and upgrade the metro mobile radio network for Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Under the deal, Motorola Solutions will additionally provide the Victorian public safety agencies (PSAs) with data, GPS, location, and online reporting tools and services.

"Motorola Solutions will continue to deliver new innovation to the service, including a trial of its software-defined push-to-talk solution to extend radio network access to more users via broadband," the company added.

"The upgrade will also provide public safety agencies with a strategic interface to their Triple Zero emergency call and dispatch systems, enabling them to access more services and data-based capabilities over time."

The managed services contract with Partnerships Victoria also has the option to be extended for another five years thereafter, meaning Motorola Solutions will be responsible for Victoria's mission-critical voice communications for 20 years.

In addition to police, fire, and ambulance, Victoria State Emergence Service (SES), Life Saving Victoria, and Corrections Victoria will join the state's public safety network being provided by Motorola Solutions by the end of this year.

The announcement follows Motorola Solutions in November beginning to deploy its mobility services to Victoria Police after scoring a five-year AU$50 million managed service contract with the state government to upgrade its police force a year ago.

Under that program, more than 10,000 Victorian police officers, transit safety police, and protective services officers are receiving iPhones and iPads in order to capture evidence, carry out identity checks, and report crimes and traffic incidents while mobile.

The mobile devices are preloaded with the mPol app, providing real-time information about individuals and incidents to police officers, which was developed by Collingwood-based Gridstone -- a company acquired by Motorola Solutions in November 2016.

The deal was part of the state government's AU$227 million commitment to upgrade its police force.

Motorola Solutions is also working with the Western Australia government, in August winning a AU$7 million deal with the state's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to provide a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.

The company's PremierOne CAD enables real-time mapping, dispatch, and hazard information by integrating information from PSAs' databases, command centres, front-line officers, and the public.

In December 2016, Motorola Solutions also signed a five-year, AU$30 million deal with the New South Wales Telco Authority to upgrade 150 public safety agency radio sites and extend network coverage to 23 new sites in the north-west region of the state; and in April 2015, it signed a AU$175 million seven-year deal with the South Australian government to upgrade and manage its government radio network.

The Australian government had at the end of 2016 ordered PSAs to use commercial mobile networks and spectrum following a recommendation by the Productivity Commission, which stated that a commercial solution would only cost AU$2.2 billion over a 20-year period.

By comparison, building a dedicated mobile network for PSAs was estimated to cost AU$6.2 billion, a full-coverage hybrid solution AU$5.1 billion, and a targeted-coverage hybrid solution AU$2.9 billion.

Among others, the NSW Telco Authority is continuing to push for mobile broadband spectrum, arguing that it is "critical" for PSAs to have access to communications at all times.

During the most recent financial year, the NSW Telco Authority increased its government radio network coverage from around 56 percent of the land mass to 91.5 percent using the AU$63 million it was allocated under the 2016-17 State Budget.

For the current financial year, the authority is embarking on the next phase of its program across the 400MHz spectrum band using the AU$178 million it was allocated for 2017-18.

"We've got about 150 sites that we operate for the NSW network," Kate Foy, managing director of the NSW Telco Authority, said in November.

"We conducted an audit, we found about 2,600 radio sites in existence throughout the state, some 27,000 radio assets; we are looking at integrating and consolidating that down to a network of 700."

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