NSW kicks off next phase of emergency comms overhaul

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NSW kicks off next phase of emergency comms overhaul

Has $320m to spend.

The NSW government has turned to industry for suggestions on how to construct the next phase of the single state-wide radio network for emergency services agencies.

The state’s existing Government Radio Network (GRN) is currently being upgraded as part of the NSW Telco Authority’s mammoth critical communication enhancement program (CCEP).

The program will consolidate the state’s 70 emergency service communications networks in a bid to remove the inefficiencies that arise from operating separate and overlapping networks.

The NSW Telco Authority $320 million in this year’s state budget to fund the next phase of site construction, which is focused on the greater metropolitan region.

This follows an initial $178 million allocation that marked the official start for the deployment of the single government radio network in 2017.

The NSW Telco Authority has now kicked off its request for information process for the next stage of the CCEP in the greater metropolitan region ahead of a formal tender process.

It is looking for one or more “capable” suppliers to run and maintain the enhance GRN being delivered through the CCEP, as well as the next phase of site construction.

“This is intended to be a multi-year strategic partnership with a supplier to transform the delivery of operations, maintenance and client service functions across the GRN,” tender documents state.

The agency also wants suppliers to propose alternative service delivery models that might improve the expanded network's performance 

The enhanced GRN is expected to “result in almost double the number of clients, and close to 100,000 registered radio terminals”.

The trunked voice radio network currently serves more than 40 clients through “an estimated 46,000 registered radio terminal units and 1400 talk groups”.

These include public safety agencies, utilities and power providers, local councils from across NSW, as well as federal and ACT providers.

“Through the Critical Communications Enhancement Program, the government radio network will grow from 180 to approximately 400 sites over the next few years increasing to 700 sites when fully built across metropolitan and regional NSW,” Managing Director of NSW Telco Authority Kate Foy said in a statement.

“This significant expansion will be a major piece of infrastructure and will almost double the size of the current government radio network.”  

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