The Queensland government has appointed Telstra and Motorola to build and maintain the sunshine state's Government Wireless Network (GWN), which will be worth an estimated $457 million over a 15 year period.
Premier Campbell Newman and Treasurer Tim Nicholls have announced that Telstra has been selected to design, construction operate and maintain the hugely ambitious project, with Motorola Solutions chosen as chief subcontractor.
The project will provide enhanced digital radio voice and narrowband data communications to Queensland’s public safety agencies, in order to enhance intra-agency cooperation and functionality.
The Queensland government had previously announced that it had hoped to enter a contractual agreement with a private sector provider for the creation, operation and maintenance of the GWN, under a managed service arrangement with the State.
Other companies that were in the running for the contract included Broadcast Australia Infrastructure Group and Queensland Wireless Network Consortium.
While the Queensland government hopes the GWN can commence provision of improved communication services to public safety agencies in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns in time for the 2014 G20 Leaders’ Summit, according to Mr. Nicholls this is a project which has long been overdue.
“This system should have been delivered a decade ago but the previous government was not focused on the frontline services provided by our public safety agencies,” Mr. Nicholls said.
“We’ve allocated $56.7 million in the 2013-14 Budget to get this project underway.”
The project will be progressively deployed in other regions throughout the state after making its debut in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns next year, with plans for its scope of usage to gradually spread to other government agencies, local governments and public safety providers.
“It will then be rolled out to the rest of the South-East in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Premier Newman said.
“There’s also the potential to eventually extend the system to cover the rest of the State.”
Minister for Police and Community Safety Jack Dempsey said the GWN will provide a pivotal boost to the state’s emergency response capabilities, giving the poor state of existing facilities.
“Our existing analogue technology is aging, has limited capacity, and can’t be used across agencies,” Mr. Dempsey said.
“For police, fire and ambulance officers in the GWN service areas, there will be clearer radio communication and better coverage at key public locations.”
“It’s designed to reduce emergency response times by providing seamless interconnectivity between the agencies,. It will also improve officer safety by providing GPS enabled duress alarms and officer down alarms.”
Mr. Nicholls said Telstra and Motorola will cooperate closely with the state government to design the network in detail, with construction work expected to commence later this year.