Fire & Rescue New South Wales, Australia’s largest urban fire service and the fourth largest in the world, has integrated cutting-edge Push-to-Talk (PTT) technology developed by Cobham and its partner Wireless Innovation within its existing communications network.
By combining satellite and land mobile radio into a single ubiquitous network, the new technology significantly extends the reach of data and voice communication across the 880,000 km2 New South Wales land mass that the service is responsible for.
Cobham SATCOM’s EXPLORER PTT solution combines highly reliable global L-band satellite technology and least cost routing for automatic switching between SATCOM, LTE and Land Mobile Radio without user intervention. By combining all bearers available, the system significantly extends communications reach for the Service, providing high quality voice and data coverage throughout New South Wales, including in radio blackspots. The system uses just a single handheld microphone, making it incredibly user friendly for fire fighters, who can just pick up and talk without thinking about which service the conversation is being transmitted on. Additionally, the least cost routing ensures costs are kept to the absolute minimum, making it a highly viable solution for public funded services.
The EXPLORER 325 PTT solution for Fire & Rescue New South Wales is developed in conjunction with Wireless Innovation Pty Ltd, a Sydney based company that provides hosted and fully managed Push to Talk (PTT) solutions to airtime providers and end users with the ability to manage global networks of any scale. Wireless Innovation works closely with its end user customers, with this proximity providing deep insight into the specific requirements of first responders that supports Cobham SATCOM’s development of PTT technology. Wireless Innovation provides the front-end management of the EXPLORER PTT solution for Fire & Rescue New South Wales, ensuring easy admin including establishing call groups.
Graham Tait, Operational Communications Systems Officer from Fire & Rescue New South Wales, stated that while existing coverage in cities and urban areas is fine, providing full, reliable communications across New South Wales’ entire fringe and rural land mass with high quality voice and data is incredibly challenging. PTT is a vital aspect to our urban search & rescue operations as it ensures we have full coverage even when infrastructure is taken out due to flooding, cyclones or earthquakes, but the system will help us to deliver coverage throughout the state on fire trucks also. Ultimately, PTT is acting as a catalyst towards a proposed broadband public safety network.
Neil Jamieson, Managing Director, Wireless Innovation, added that the EXPLORER PTT solution meets a specific need for delivering reliable communications for first responders in large rural areas, especially where LMR coverage is lacking. Delivering a fast, organized response in an area the size of New South Wales is incredibly challenging, but based on our experience of integrating PTT on ambulances and police vehicles in Queensland, we have been able to deliver a low-cost solution for Fire & Rescue New South Wales that will improve safety and logistics, allowing the service to address emergencies even more effectively.