As part of an AU$42.9 million regional radio dispatch service project, Telstra has been tapped to build and maintain the digital communications network for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria, with support from Motorola Solutions.
The project, announced today by Victorian Police Minister Kim Wells, will see Telstra roll out the network over the next 18 months to replace the legacy analog communications network used by the 500 CFA brigades across the state. The CFA's chief officer Euan Ferguson said it will allow those brigades to communicate directly with the operators who have sent them to the emergency.
"Members will also benefit from clearer radio dispatch coverage, which is currently available to Victoria Police, [Melbourne Fire Brigade], Ambulance Victoria, and our brigades in metropolitan Melbourne," he said in a statement.
The existing system requires brigades to communicate back to base via a local group communications officer, but the crews will be given digital Tait radios that will work over the new digital network. The network rollout will begin in November, and be available to all regional brigades by mid 2014.
"The new digital network will initially be dedicated to dispatching regional CFA brigades and will use newly assigned channels. Fireground, and command and control channels are not changing as an outcome of this project," Ferguson said.