Government Announces Replacement for Aging FleetNet Communications System
President Gawronsky speaks with media (top) and the Minister of Sustainable Development, Rochelle Squires, (right) about the new emergency mobile communications service. Left: A new digital radio (orange) displayed alongside an old radio.
Aug 09, 2018The Government of Manitoba announced yesterday that it has awarded a tender to Bell Mobility to replace its aging FleetNet communications system.
The government says new equipment will provide reliable communications service in all areas of the province, including rural and remote locations. Since it’s a digital two-way system, the mobile radios will also be connected to a more secure network and will help to improve the safety of first responders.
“For many years our members have talked about the problems using the outdated FleetNet system. They’re experiencing frequent service failures and parts to repair the system are very hard to come by,” says MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky. “In an emergency you can’t have your communications system go down – it needs to work – so I know this announcement will be welcomed news for our members out in the field.”
Emergency responders such as ambulance, fire and police currently use the outdated FleetNet system, while Conservation officers and forest firefighting crews use a very high frequency (VHF) radio system operated by Manitoba Sustainable Development. The new system will replace both of the old systems.
Bell Mobility will be responsible for all aspects of delivering the service, and will own and operate the towers, radios, antennas, and any other required infrastructure. The new equipment will include radios with GPS and radio encryption, so the location of first responders can be tracked, while remaining secure. The equipment will also be compatible with systems outside of Manitoba to ensure co-ordination during emergencies.
Five additional telecommunications towers will be added to the province’s current network of 153 to expand coverage.
The total cost to replace the communications system is
estimated at $380 million, and it is planned to be implemented over the next