The new Emergency Services Network (ESN), which is due to be launched during December 2019, may need further testing beyond this date, which could result in costing taxpayers across England, Wales and Scotland £475 million a year.
At the moment, emergency services throughout the country use radio network Airwave, which will see its contracts expire in just two short years’ time. However, the ESN has not yet been proven to work as a system and it’s likely it won’t be ready on time, according to MPs forming the Public Accounts Committee, the BBC reports.
Meg Hillier, committee chairwoman, commented: “It is critical for public safety and achieving value for money that the government has a firm grasp of the implications of delays in its timetable and a costed plan to tackle them. We will expect it to demonstrate real progress in this area when it reports back to us later this year.”
It’s been suggested that the Home Office has failed to budget for this lengthy delay, and as a result detailed disaster recovery plans must be put in place.
ESN will feature high resilience, extensive coverage, public safety functionality and appropriate security so that users are able to communicate no matter the circumstances and no matter how challenging they may be.
Integrated broadband data and critical voice services will be enabled by the service in a bid to be more responsive to user needs, to provide integrated broadband services and to address financial pressure on central and user budgets.