New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

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New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby m0lsx » Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:05 pm

Just seen on Southgate ARC's news site..

A £6 billion project to replace radios used by the 999 services with a system that uses the 4G mobile phone network has been condemned as ‘reckless’ and ‘short-sighted’ amid fears it could put lives at risk.

The Home Office is planning to overhaul communications for emergency teams within two years. But police chiefs, crime tsars and industry experts say that the project is being rushed through to save money.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that:
Civil servants are insisting that police forces start moving to the new system by next year – even before there is full coverage across the country, despite warnings by Chief Constables.
The public will be left struggling to call 999 in a disaster, as they will be using the same 4G networks as emergency services, who will take priority.
Police insiders are concerned that the new system may not work on the London Underground, as was required after 7/7.

Read more:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z3ixk4fmyM
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby thelad » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:36 pm

My other half was working on testing all the 4G stuff for the 999 services, she said its a joke and will fail while costing us Billions she has since left the company due to how bad it was.
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby SilverShadow » Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:18 am

Image

I managed to get a sneak peek at their new tech :tongue:
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby yupiteru » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:04 pm

It will be interesting to see what happens. The problem is that a lot of organisations have permission to use the tetra airwave network at the moment, not just as most people think, police, fire and ambulance.

Have a look at this Ofcom document that lists all the potential users - very interesting I think:

http://licensing.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/ ... ations.pdf
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby G4RMT » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:38 pm

As usual - half a story. The Government moved many licensed users of the spectrum out of the TV bands, me included, and compensated me for the equipment I had to surrender. However, the expected empty channels were not snapped up by the 4G providers as expected and large amounts of cleared spectrum, country wide, are currently unused. The idea behind the mangled story is to put this spare capacity into use, using 4G technology - but without limiting what the ordinary cellular customers can do. It is extra capacity, not existing capacity. The time and effort, plus the expense of moving us out of channel 69 was a bit pointless. So a big chunk of spectrum is sitting there, waiting for users. The new system would simply require the bigger and higher cell towers to have the new channels added - a retro fit into the rack. The lack of users means the cells for this service can be bigger, and higher power. There's a cost of course, but service can be done by existing service teams, the technology already exists, and all they need are dedicated handsets that can be modified commercial devices. The existing TETRA system has been trouble from the very start, all the transmitter sites are individuals - on random buildings and transmitter sites. Servicing these is very expensive, using existing cell tower sites will be much cheaper to run.

So the story is half truths and innuendo, when the facts are simple. Coverage, for less money is possible. Some work on the underground may be needed, but they're already implementing better mobile coverage.
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby tomfool » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:10 pm

this all looks very intreasting another not so well thought out goverment plan :embarrased:
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby G4RMT » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:47 pm

The story misquote amusing.They contacted the licensed users, who it is estimated were about 30% of the actual users of the band, many of which did not even know a license was required. We surrendered the equipment and got a more than fair compensation. I got around £100 each for the items I surrendered, and they were about 8 years old, with a residual value of maybe 60 or 70 quid? I bought new equipment in the new channel 38 band with it. Not as much, but better stuff. Then, when the expected take up by the phone companies didn't happen, and new channel 38 equipment was in short supply, they allowed us to buy back equipment at a bargain basement price. We basically put in bids for the piles of equipment in a warehouse on the understanding that when the phone companies took the band over, we would stop using it (which frankly with their higher powers, we would have to do anyway) and use just the 4 channels covered by a free to anyone allocation in channel 70, that most of this kit would cover. I put in a bid for some rather nice items - very expensive bits of kit I could not have afforded at even their second hand value. I got a note saying one bid had been successful - but one was better than none - when it arrived it was a lot of ten! All in all, a real mess from start to finish.The Government expectation was that the channel 69 band would generate millions when auctioned off to EE or BT, but they didn't want it!

Channel 69 is a big lump of spectrum and just sitting there, waiting for a user. You can see why they want to find a new user, and it's ideal for the emergency services. The technology already exists to send data and speech - many police friends tell me it's simpler to use their private phone to take a picture at a crime or accident scene and send it to the control room. The TETRA system was supposed to be able to do this, but these features just never worked properly and were technically behind the capabilities of ordinary phones. The bit about the public being not able to dial 999 is also not certain. All phones currently offer access to 999 even when they have no credit or a dodgy simm card - the emergency/major incident mode that uses the essential user flag in the data stream should still allow 999 calls even when locked down - just cutting access to the usual network services. The need for this emerged during the Lockerbie air disaster when the phone system collapsed under the number of users, and the emergency planners had determined cellphone were the best form of communications. In that disaster, radio hams were mobilised to handle communications using their own kit until mobile private comms were brought in and installed - and that took a while. Search teams were allocated a person to communicate back to the various bases in the area. A very unpleasant task for those people involved.

Next to where I live was a radio mast carrying police and fire service radio traffic, and when TETRA came along, the mast was removed. It covered from North Suffolk where I live, linking back to Ipswich 45 miles away, where the service headquarters are. On the mast were also a number of aerials paid for by the emergency planning department that could be used to connect local radios here to the control rooms under the Police station. They were used for things like solution exercises offshore and disaster training along the coastline. It worked quite well, and I installed the aerial system and tested it. I also had some flight cased EMP hardened computer equipment for use 'when required". Nobody ever told me when this would be, but as I was very local, I looked after it. When the mast was removed I was told to scrap it by putting it in the landfill I guess that it would have been perfect for a Lockerbie style incident. Now - it's mobile phones!

I don't know how many people remember the cold war days - but Google Last ditch radio - http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/Page254.htm
Quite interesting stuff. One of my old jobs was to train the local publicans and postmasters in country sub post offices what to do when the day came!
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby m0lsx » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:17 am

In some of the villages around the Norfolk coast there is no mobile signal, or a poor & patchy mobile signal & no Tetra signal. And the villages most effected are the low villages most prone to flooding.
During an exercise a few years ago, they planned it without RAYNET to see what would happen. The only comms they had from two villages to the control room, was via one phone box, which would be unusable due to flooding.
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Re: New 999 radios could 'puts lives at risk'

Postby G4RMT » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:00 pm

True but the cost for a cellular site can be shared with a wider user base, so there could be benefits to the community from new shared sites?

The trouble with Raynet services is that they are skilled people, and many Emergency Planning Officers want an equipment based solution that can be utilised by non-technical people. The typical RAYNET person would say - move the aerial, swap it for something more suitable, or all the other technical tricks. The untrained person opens a box and switches things on and stands back to watch it work, which isn't real life. RAYNET used to provide comms services for St John in North Suffolk where I live, but then St John bought their own systems, and it just wasn't needed any longer.

What is not in dispute is that TETRA was rubbish when it first came into operation, remained pretty awful and now is being retired in disgrace. So many features that could have been so useful that just didn't work properly. The average Policeman simply wanted a new version of what went before - how it worked they really didn't care about!
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