The NSW government has allocated $145.7 million in today's state budget on the build of a centralised mission critical emergency services paging network across the state.
The funding, provided to the NSW Telco Authority, aims to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of frontline workers when responding to fires and other emergencies”.
The upgrades will “streamline asset use and improve accountability of performance and customer service, addressing concerns with an ageing network," the government said.
The project will also resolve “issues resulting from the procurement of major network elements by different government agencies”.
The government said the investment is “consistent with the recommendations of the 2019-20 NSW bushfire inquiry and Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements 2020”.
“These reports identified the detrimental impacts of mobile communications outages, and the need for simple methods of communicating during fire and other emergencies,” it said.
The NSW Telco Authority is expected to leverage ongoing work under the critical communications enhancement program (CCEP) to “reduce construction costs… and expedite the rollout”.
First funded in 2016, the CCEP is consolidating the government’s 70 separate emergency service agency radio networks with a single, state-wide radio network.
In last year’s budget, the government set aside $719 million to complete the final phase of the CCEP.
Other new initiatives outlined in the budget include:
- $455.9 million over four years for the Regional Digital Connectivity program, including $112.2 million for the Gig State pilot, which was announced prior to the budget
- $31.3 million for NSW’s spatial digital twin, Live NSW, which was announced prior to the budget
- $53.7 million over four years to expand the Digital Baby Book initiative, which was announced prior to the budget
- $5 million over four years for “ongoing support of the key digital investment in the whole-of-government online booking system to make it easier… for customers to access government services”