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Government radio network considered

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

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A single radio network encompassing law enforcement, public safety and emergency management agencies may be brought in to replace current infrastructure that the Government says is "fragmented and ageing".

The Government announced today that it was looking at the feasibility of developing a whole-of-government network.

"We are taking a whole-of-government view towards any new investment, to see how we can get maximum value for money for taxpayers," Infrastructure Minister Bill English said.

"The current infrastructure is fragmented, ageing and is not managed in a coordinated way.

"That can make it harder for agencies to work together, particularly in a major emergency."

Police Minister Judith Collins also emphasised the importance of radio communication in emergencies, saying the issue was highlighted during the major earthquakes in Christchurch.

"The police digital radio network played a major role in the co-ordination of emergency services following the quakes," Collins said.

"The key benefits of a whole-of-government radio network are likely to be better interoperability, better security, improved voice clarity, enhanced safety features and improved coverage."

A reduced cost of crime, less death and injury, reduced property damage and better financial efficiency, were among the potential benefits the network was expected to have, Collins said.

"The options analysed in the business case were technology and vendor neutral - that means it will be a level playing field for all potential providers with options based on business needs and outcomes rather than a specific technical solution."

Based on the initial business case, the Government said the network was likely to be a public-private partnership.

Officials would develop a second, more detailed, business case, which they were expected to submit to cabinet early next year.



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