One of the world's largest urban fire and rescue services, Fire & Rescue New South Wales (FRNSW), Australia, has selected Tait Communications to upgrade its ageing analog radio network to P25 digital operation after a successful pilot project that saw Tait commission seven sites in just 43 working days.
FRNSW engaged with Tait to commence their digital upgrade program following a technology evaluation in early 2012, beginning with a pilot that needed to be completed before the start of the bushfire season.
Tait Project Manager Mark Cahill says: "We understood their constraints and worked closely with FRNSW and our partners Cisco and MiMOMax to ensure we would deliver what we promised."
The upgrade to P25 digital will provide improved coverage, audio quality, spectral efficiency, enhanced network management and monitoring capabilities, and is in line with the NSW Telco Authority's goal of standardizing NSW agencies on P25 digital infrastructure for mission-critical voice.
Additionally, the new network will comply with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) directive requiring all government radio users, including Emergency Services Organizations, to move to the new government band (420–430MHz).
Mr Cahill says: "We're very pleased to be providing FRNSW with a P25 digital radio solution that not only matches but exceeds their mission-critical requirements. While the requirement was to ensure the same coverage and services support for their firefighters was maintained, Tait has delivered even greater results since the pilot completion, including improved radio coverage and easier radio profile usability.
"The new network will deliver much-needed communications interoperability with other state agencies, and allow FRNSW to take advantage of mixed-vendor solutions and long-term value for the life of the system."
Tait is commissioning a conventional P25 digital network using advanced Tait TB9100 base stations with MiMOMax radio linking and integrating with additional partner products and services.
Seven sites have already been rolled out as part of the pilot project, with 16 more sites to be completed by the end of this year.
FRNSW have over 120 sites that will require migration to P25 over the next three to five years.
FRNSW is made up of more than 6,800 firefighters, 7,000 community fire unit members, and 408 administrative and trades staff. It is one of the key agencies involved in the response phase of most emergency or disaster events throughout the state of New South Wales.