The Victorian Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) has completed a six-year multimillion-dollar upgrade of its two-way radio network with the help of Motorola.
(Fire over the hills image by Tim Williams, CC2.0)
The ESTA Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) two-way radio system is a critical communications link between police, fire and ambulance in Victoria. It comprises of 8000 radio sets and processes around 16 million calls per year. The Metropolitan Coverage Enhancement Project upgrade of this system was undertaken to allow for greater capacity and coverage for people in the Berwick, Warrandyte and Mornington Peninsula areas of metropolitan Victoria.
The system is provided to Victoria by Motorola in a Public Private Partnership arrangement.
The upgrade, which included enhancements to the core switching technology and a deployment of secure IP dispatch consoles at the ESTA, had very few problems according to ESTA acting CEO Andrew Wellwood.
"The project was completed with minimum disruption thanks to the full cooperation — and participation — of Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, ensuring those emergency services organisations can make full use of the expanded capacity," he said in a statement.
Prior to Motorola undertaking the project, communication between the different emergency service operators in Victoria was difficult as they often had incompatible communications systems. Motorola Solutions Australia general manager of government and public safety Dr Michael N'Guyen said this is a key factor in fast response times for emergency services.
"Mission-critical communications is one of the single most important factors in successfully coordinating a public safety operation in response to an emergency, and the MMR has equipped Victoria's [emergency services organisations] with one of the country's most sophisticated networks," he said.
In August, Victorian Premier John Brumby announced $21.5 million in funding to build a computerised mapping system that can be used to provide immediate information on fires, and allow authorities to issue early warnings.