Gardaí put out tender for Tetra handhelds

11 Aug 2005

Signalling further advances in the impending rollout of a digitised Tetra (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) network by An Garda Síochána, has learned that the national police force has issued a tender for 100, rising to possibly 150, Tetra portable radios.

With a deadline set for 31 August, the gardaí are seeking initially 100 but possibly an additional 50 portable Tetra radios. Each radio must be capable of functioning for eight hours at a ratio of 90pc standby, 5pc transmit and 5pc receive.

Tenderers must provide programming software that will operate on Windows 2000, NT and XP operating systems

Tetra technology paves the way for an encrypted, instantaneous voice and data network that is swiftly being adopted by police and emergency forces as well as transport companies throughout the world.

For example, unlike existing mobile networks, Tetra is a private network that enables instantaneous voice communications and can allow police officers to call up extra support, look up criminal records and car registration details while on the move, and enable headquarters to know exactly where officers and vehicles are at any given time on a mapping system.

It is understood that both Nokia and Motorola are competing aggressively for the €100m garda Tetra network tender. The tender, unveiled in 1999, has so far been piloted by Nokia, but a second tender for the full installation of the secure network has sparked major competition amongst communications equipment manufacturers.

The system, which is intended to replace the current Garda Radio Network, is costing about €5m in its pilot stage. If the replacement project is followed through and rolled out across the country, it will cost in the region of €100m. Operating at a frequency of 400MHz, the Tetra device is much harder to intercept than is the case with the current system.

The technology has already been deployed by police forces across the world, including 11 in the UK. In Ireland, the technology has been deployed on the Luas network for security and safety support and the technology is also being trialed in Northern Ireland by the PSNI.

By John Kennedy