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UK Coastguard Replacing Emergency Radio Network

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The U.K.'s Maritime and Coastguard Agency is investing over £170 million ($221.5 million) in a new radio network for Her Majesty's Coastguard. 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 fiber-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 U.K. 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.

"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 fulfill its role in protecting life on the coast and in our waters into the future," said Commercial and Programs Director, Damien Oliver, the Senior Responsible Officer for this Program. "This new network will replace the increasingly difficult to maintain analogue system in place today. It will also provide fiber connectivity to the very rural areas in which the majority of our 155 remote radio sites are located."

The program will replace old existing copper telephone wiring with modern fiber-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 program will see remote towns and villages in the proximity of the network being able to utilize the new fiber 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 organization 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 fiber-based hybrid network.

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