Vic govt eyes BYOD, 4G in new emergency network deal

Motorola Solutions has won another two-year extension on its decade-old contract for the operation of the Victorian government's dedicated police and ambulance network.

The Victorian government will trial 4G services and Telstra's new 4G lanes in concert with its dedicated police and ambulance network, in a new deal signed with Motorola Solutions.

The AU$41.5 million contract is a two-year extension on the company's decade-long agreement to build, operate, and manage the metropolitan network set up in 2005 across Melbourne for Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria.

Motorola Solutions managing director for Australia and New Zealand Steve Crutchfield told ZDNet that the network has evolved since 2004, and now data is as critical, if not more so, than voice services on the emergency network. The end goal is now to develop a "ubiquitous, state-wide broadband environment".

He said that it will be able to provide users with the choice to bring their own devices and applications onto the network.

"Depending on the agency, those requirements will be mixed and varied," he said.

"One of the key goals for us is to help the state better define those requirements, and down to things like what is the right device for the right user."

He said that Motorola Solutions will initially trial expanding the network through roaming trials with Telstra onto the company's 4G network in Victoria. This would allow users to roam on the commercial 4G network in metropolitan areas to get better data speeds than the metropolitan data network, and then onto 4G in regional areas where the metro network does not reach.

The company will then also look to trial the company's emergency priority channel, known as LANES, towards the end of 2015.

"In this new world, we will be trialling 4G services as a next step, and then with proof-of-concept trials in the not-too-distant future on enhanced lanes. It will provide them with the secure and highly prioritised environment for them to work in," he said.

Telstra has already tested LANES as part of last year's G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane.

Ultimately, it will be up to the government to decide whether to implement the 4G roaming options after the trials, Crutchfield said.

The initial extension is for two years, but the government has the option of two additional one-year extensions.