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The New Emergency Services Network: Critical communications and the world’s longest drive test

14th December 2021

The Home Office led, cross-government initiative to deliver a new Emergency Services Network (ESN) critical communications system is underway, and we at Metricell couldn’t be happier in being a part of this.

The ESN network is currently delivered via a TETRA-based Airwave system, owned by Motorola, which looks to still benefit a great deal from a four year contract extension, up until the end of 2026, when the much-anticipated transition is set to happen. UK first responders were originally set to begin making the transition back in 2016, completing by 2019, but even with the large delay, and extra heavy budget allocation, the transition of the UK public-safety communications to LTE-based ESN continues to be crucial and undeniably necessary for future-proofing these critical communications.

ESN looks to deliver high-speed, safe and secure voice, video and data across a 4G network. Meaning that first responders can access time-critical, life-saving information when they need it the most. This also means that people who live in remote locations will also have the capability to make mobile 999 calls and have the network coverage to support this.

All-in-all, the emergency services will benefit hugely not only because of the resilience and added support of the network, but also the ability to take advantage of other products or technologies that might meet their individual criteria or operational needs.

Metricell’s technology and test systems are providing pivotal support alongside this important project by continual analysis of the new network in terms of both performance and optimisation. Helping to build-out an evolving picture of the new emergency services network, pinpointing areas of interest such as low or no coverage in order to provide fast feedback for implementing improvement works.

The rollout testing is carried out using our AutoMobile units, a powerful plug and play drive testing solution which can be used in a variety of vehicles for everything from nationwide benchmarking projects, major road network analysis and can even be used in boats, trains or even for walk testing with the addition of a simple battery pack.

Thanks to AutoMobiles flexibility and scalability, we are helping to support the largest drive testing project in the world, by installing our non-invasive testing units into emergency service vehicles, which report on key service metrics 24/7/365. Here at Metricell, we believe in being better connected, and helping the emergency services achieve that makes our mission far more worthwhile.