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TfL contracts Capita for London Underground section of emergency services network

Capita will implement the network infrastructure that will enable the emergency services mobile network to work on the London Underground

Capita will deliver the London Underground section of the network infrastructure that will underpin the Home Office’s mobile communications network for emergency services.

The Emergency Services Network, as it is known, will replace the existing Airwave network for police, fire and rescue, and ambulance services across the UK. The mobile service will be independent of public mobile phone networks. 

Transport for London (TfL) awarded the contract, worth £23.5m over 12 months, to Capita, with the supplier designing and implementing the network in the London Underground. It will use services, including 4G, to enable emergency services teams throughout the London Underground environment to communicate.

Capita will install and test a network of cables in tunnels as well as installation and testing of local area network infrastructure on platforms and in stations. Mobile network provider EE will use the infrastructure to provide the mobile service..

“This contract delivers key elements of the infrastructure required to bring the new Emergency Services Network to the London Underground network,” said Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL. “With close to half of the Tube located underground, it’s vital that this system will help support the police, fire and ambulance services if they are required to help our customers.”

ESN should offer significant benefits to officers across all three emergency services. For example, transitioning police officers away from radios and on to mobile telephones is in line with the evolution of emergency services communications. With services’ investment in mobile policing, wearables and in-vehicle devices already under way, there is clearly an appetite for enhanced data capabilities.

There have been delays to the ESN roll-out which have been a source of much concern among emergency services stakeholders, as well as the MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), who have scrutinised the programme at length.

Read more about ESN

  • Home Office quietly announces a major extension to the ESN project, pumping over £200m of additional taxpayer money into its contract with EE.
  • The PAC’s latest evidence-gathering session for its inquiry into the delayed and over-budget Emergency Services Network has laid bare a number of crucial errors made over the past few years.
  • The delayed Emergency Services Network is slipping further behind schedule and is getting more expensive all the time – and the Home Office’s management of the project is to blame.
  • The government has agreed to all of the Public Accounts Committee’s findings in its investigation into the Emergency Services Network, but there is still a chance the programme could collapse.
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