The Home Office has selected engineering firm Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) to deliver Lot 1 of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP).
The firm will oversee the delivery of transition support, integration and user support as the emergency services begin to move to the ESMCP in 2017.
The ESMCP is designed to provide cheaper, better and smarter communications services for the emergency services.
The £1 billion programme will deliver a replacement communications and data service using 4G technology. This is the first time this emergency services capability will be fielded at scale on a commercial network anywhere in the world.
Although best known for its expertise in chemical plants and offshore oil and gas, KBR has experience of delivering large infrastructure projects.
Negotiations with the preferred bidders for the remaining contracts – Motorola (Lot 2) and EE (Lot 3) are continuing and contract awards are expected in the autumn.
The new broadband data services will replace the existing private mobile radio system provided by Airwave in 2017.
Commenting on the award of the contract, minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mike Penning, said: “We are determined that our goal to provide the UK’s emergency services with the best communications network in the world is implemented as quickly as possible and I am delighted that I can now announce we have awarded the first contract. We remain on course to sign further contracts later this year.
“Making sure our emergency services have the best tools to help them do their job is paramount. As well as offering the emergency services much more capacity, flexibility and functionality than the old system, the new network will also save the taxpayer well over £1bn over the next 15 years.”
Andrew Barrie, head of government services at KBR said: “We are delighted to have been selected by the Home Office to manage the transition of this critical communications service.
“At the heart of this programme is public safety and we look forward to playing our part in the delivery of an enhanced, more flexible, and more affordable communications and data capability, fit for our emergency services in the 21st century.”
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