CGI joins program to deliver UK's Emergency Services Network


By Lauren Davis
Wednesday, 29 May, 2024

CGI joins program to deliver UK's Emergency Services Network

Canadian company CGI, one of the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world, has been selected by the UK Government’s Home Office as the Technology Delivery Partner for the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) across England, Scotland and Wales. The five-year contract, which focuses on advisory and delivery capability, is valued at CA$81.2 million (AU$89.47 million).

The cross-government program will deliver a new critical communications system, known as the Emergency Services Network (ESN), for the UK’s emergency responders. The LTE network is expected to provide a more robust and cost-efficient communications network in support of fire, ambulance and police services, streamlining communication capabilities and facilitating first response. It will enable fast, safe and secure voice, video and data across the 4G network and give responders immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies.

Delivery of the ESN has unfortunately been slow going — the UK Government originally announced the ESMCP in 2014, with plans for the ESN to completely replace the so-called Airwave TETRA network in 2019. But unexpected delays with the ESN meant the contract with Airwave’s owner, Motorola Solutions, has had to be renewed multiple times since then (notably, Motorola was a major supplier of the ESN but withdrew from the project in January 2023). Indeed, Motorola recently received a notice of contract extension from the Home Office which extended Airwave’s national shutdown target date from 31 December 2026 to 31 December 2029.

As the years have rolled by, emergency services have found themselves purchasing additional and/or replacement Airwave devices to tide them over until the ESN is ready — and with current Airwave systems set to be obsolete in 2028, further replacements will likely be needed in future. It can therefore only be hoped that the appointment of CGI will help get the much-delayed ESN project back on track.

“The Emergency Services Network will provide Britain’s first responders with critical communications technology that will give them up-to-date voice and data communications in emergency situations, helping to keep the public safe,” said ESMCP Programme Director John Black.

“We’re delighted to welcome CGI as part of our team. They will add expertise and experience in large-scale technology delivery at this important stage in our delivery of the Emergency Services Network. We look forward to working with CGI as we complete the delivery of the network and start work on mobilisation and deployment across hundreds of user organisations over the next five years.”

“CGI has a strong track record in delivering national critical infrastructure across the public safety landscape,” added David Filmer, Senior Vice President, Consulting Services at CGI. “As a business, our core ethos is to deliver complex things well, enabling insights our clients can act on, and our commitment to this partnership with the ESMCP is no different. Through our extensive telecoms experience and alignment to the mission, we can offer a bespoke and scalable partnership to meet the program’s needs.”

Image credit: iStock.com/sturti

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