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HM Coastguard to replace emergency radio network infrastructure

Posted on: 3 August 2020

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is investing over £170 million in a new radio network that will enable Her Majesty’s Coastguard to continue to save lives for years to come. The new network will be built and maintained by Telent Technology Services Ltd and is a significant investment in telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas.

The existing network will be replaced with a modern and resilient fibre-based hybrid network, that will provide increased reliability, bandwidth and security.

The new network will ensure HM Coastguard can continue to:
• Communicate with ships in UK waters to advise on navigation hazards or receive distress alerts.
• Track shipping through ships’ automatic identification systems, which presents a very significant national security risk.
• Launch and direct the hundreds of charitably funded lifeboats that save lives; and
• Communicate with HM Coastguard helicopters, fixed wing planes, and emergency tug which save lives and protect the marine environment.

Commercial and Programmes Director, Damien Oliver, the Senior Responsible Officer for this Programme and said: “This is a vitally important investment in Coastguard infrastructure through the construction of a new national radio network, without which Her Majesty’s Coastguard simply could not fulfil its role in protecting life on the coast and in our waters into the future. This new network will replace the increasingly difficult to maintain analogue system in place today. It will also provide fibre connectivity to the very rural areas in which the majority of our 155 remote radio sites are located.”

The programme will replace old existing copper telephone wiring with modern fibre-based technology to each of the HM Coastguards 155 remote radio sites, as well as adding new connection points to increase resilience and diversity which will in turn improve reliability.

A future benefit of the programme will see remote towns and villages in the proximity of the network being able to utilise the new fibre infrastructure to access improved technology services from a broad base of suppliers.

As network provision is not part of the Maritime Coastguard Agency’s core capability, a market leading specialist organisation will be used to install and run the new network under a Managed Service Support Contract. Following a rigorous and competitive tendering process telent have been awarded the contract to design, implement and support the new fibre-based hybrid network.

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