U.K. Airwave network likely to operate until 2024 due to ESN delays
On 8 Oct 2020

In a recent article, RadioResource International reported:
The U.K. Home Office said that Airwave network likely will not be turned off until at least the beginning of 2024 due to delays with the Emergency Services Network (ESN), which is intended to replace the Airwave network for the country’s emergency services.

“In terms of the dates, the absolute latest that we could turn Airwave off is 2025, and what we are seeking to do is to accelerate that date so that we can turn it off by the beginning of 2024,” U.K. Home Office Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft said during a hearing of the U.K. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. “If we could turn it off even sooner than that, then obviously we can, but I don’t want to give a date which then doesn’t get met.”

Home Office Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer Joanna Davinson estimated that the Airwave network costs the U.K. 360 million to 400 million pounds per year to operate. Combined with some other additional contracts and costs, each year of the delay could cost the U.K. 550 million pounds, she said.

Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier expressed disappointment in the expected date, noting that given the progress of the project so far, the new ESN likely would not be ready until 2025