Police to piggyback on Tube radio infrastructure

The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) has signed a £115m deal that will allow the police and emergency services’ Airwave radio network to piggy back on the infrastructure of London Underground’s Connect system.

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The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) has signed a £115m deal that will allow the police and emergency services’ Airwave radio network to piggy back on the infrastructure of London Underground’s Connect system.

The move will let police and emergency services use radio communications at the 125 tube stations that are below ground level. The Airwave service is set to be operational on all London Underground lines in 2008.

The deal will see a transfer of funds between PITO’s Airwave private finance initiative contract with O2 and London Underground’s 20-year £2bn Connect PFI contract with the CityLink Telecommunications consortium, which includes Motorola.

The Connect digital radio network is now live on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and East London lines and will be rolled out across the rest of the Tube system this year.

The deal will mean the Airwave system will use the Connect infrastructure to provide radio communications to police and emergency workers underground and includes funding for connecting to the infrastructure, testing, lengthening station platforms where necessary and a 10-year maintenance fee.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "It will bring added flexibility to the way that emergency services operate underground boosting the Metropolitan and City of London Police response to any incident on the Tube and providing extra reassurance to Londoners."

London Underground managing director Tim O'Toole said: “London Underground and the Home Office pre-funded works to facilitate the link-up between Connect and Airwave before this contract was signed because of the benefits it would deliver. This will allow the Airwave service to be supplied below ground via the Connect infrastructure that is already in place as quickly as possible.”

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