The government of Bermuda released a request for proposals (RFP) for a public-safety radio system in 2017. PowerTrunk is supplying the TETRA network equipment.
Thursday, March 05, 2020
The contract includes the transition from the old analog voice-only radio system to one that features digital voice and data capabilities. An increase in radio performance included enhanced coverage and greater capacity, along with interoperable communications for all government agencies and key partners during an emergency or crisis. The new radio system includes redundancy and reliability that will minimize the impact of failures because of hurricanes or other unexpected events, and the government’s annual radio expenditures will be reduced by about 60% during the 15-year life of the new system.
Caines said the government of Bermuda normally pays a minimum of $2 million annually spread across several government departments and quangos for two-way radio communications services some of which are used by 9-1-1 emergency service and ancillary services. A key driver for this change is the government’s Public Sector Reform initiative.
The radio system implementation is a collaboration across all of the government’s core public-safety departments and quangos with three committee levels: steering, technical and operational. The project also has essential involvement from the Information and Digital Technology Office (IDT).
Caines said he has spoken with a few officers who are using their handsets in the first phase of the rollout. The officers said their units are clearer than previous radios, making it easier to hear in high-stress and loud-working environments. One of the new handsets is lighter, more rugged with longer battery life in addition to being waterproof, than previous handsets. The radios can be programmed over the air, and talkgroups can be dynamically assigned, reducing the requirement to bring radios to a central location to be reprogrammed.
For the first time in Bermuda, every radio on the system across the various departments will be able to speak to each other. The handsets have high levels of encryption to help ensure the system is safe from security threats, he said.
“This new radio platform will enable public-safety agencies to coordinate more efficiently than in past days,” Caines said. “This implementation is a critical technological resource for the Bermuda Police Service, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the emergency medical technicians to carry out their duties with greater effectiveness, in ultimately serving and protecting the Bermuda public at large.”
The implementation and rollout of the new radio system will continue during the next few weeks. Mark Pallans of Pallans’ Associates is the government’s radio communications consultant.