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Ericsson extends Tasmanian emergency services radio network deal

Ericsson will continue maintaining the radio network used by several Tasmanian law-enforcement agencies and emergency services that it built in the '90s.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Ericsson has had its management deal with the Tasmanian law-enforcement and emergency services' radio network extended, with the Tasmanian Department for Police and Emergency signing the company to manage the Trunk Mobile Radio Network (TMRN) over the next four years.

The deal will see Ericsson monitor and ensure the management, maintenance, security, and reliability for the radio network used by the Tasmania State Emergency Service (SES) and Tasmania Police, as well as the Tasmanian electricity supply industry.

"We look forward to maintaining our long-standing relationship with the government to ensure security, performance, and reliability of the emergency services network, and to support the effective delivery of front-line emergency services," said Emilio Romeo, Ericsson's head of Australia and New Zealand.

Ericsson was responsible for building the Tasmanian mobile radio network in 1998, having managed it since then.

Ericsson also delivered the "interoperability gateway" for Tasmanian emergency services in November 2014, which made direct call connections between emergency services and agencies possible, aiding agencies to coordinate activities in the event of an emergency situation.

"Connectivity between emergency service personnel in an emergency situation helps to effectively provide cohesive collaboration between the Tasmanian Public Safety agencies to ensure coordination in the right place and at the right time," John Kelly, director of Industry and Society at Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, said at the time.

Agencies making use of the Interoperability Gateway dedicated mobile radio system include Tasmania Police, Tasmania Fire Service, the SES, Ambulance Tasmania, and TasNetworks.

The Australian government recently released its Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) research report, recommending that public safety agencies (PSAs) use commercial networks and spectrum.

"Our study has found that, on first principles, the most efficient, effective, and economical way of delivering a public safety mobile broadband capability is by relying on commercial mobile networks and spectrum," Presiding Commissioner Jonathan Coppel said in the report.

A commercial solution will see PSAs sign individual contracts for mobile network services and capacity with telecommunications providers, an approach that would only cost AU$2.2 billion over a 20-year period.

By comparison, building a dedicated network for PSAs was estimated by the commission to cost almost three times as much, at AU$6.2 billion, with the full-coverage hybrid solution projected to cost AU$5.1 billion and the targeted-coverage hybrid solution AU$2.9 billion.

The substantial cost saving in choosing a commercial solution would be due to the PSAs being able to leverage and share existing infrastructure.

PSAs -- which include police agencies, fire service organisations, ambulance services, the SES, and marine rescue and coast guard -- have been pushing for their own spectrum and network for years, saying they need to be able to access high-speed video, high-quality images, geolocation tools, and biometric capabilities wherever they are working.

Earlier on Thursday, Ericsson also announced partnering with Telstra and telecommunications equipment and software provider Ciena to undertake a trial of encrypting data across Telstra's Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne optical transmission network, managing to secure data as it exits the private cloud and travels along the network.

Using Ericsson's systems integration expertise and Ciena's WaveLogic encryption product at 200Gbps speeds on Telstra's inter-city network, the trial saw the three companies secure and protect data across the high-capacity network.

Romeo said the tests were conducted out of Ericsson's optical test facility in Port Melbourne, with Ericsson providing the expertise to integrate the Ciena equipment within Telstra's test network.

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