The 4G Emergency Services Network will eventually be used by Ambulance, fire and police services across the UK

Britain’s long-awaited 4G Emergency Services Network (ESN) is now reportedly 5 years behind schedule and £3 billion over budget. The Emergency Services Network is a proposed 4G replacement for the existing Airwave radio system, used by the UK’s ambulance, police and fire services.

BT’s mobile subsidiary EE initially won the contract to build the 4G ESN in 2015, with a proposed launch date of 2017. The latest estimates by a government watchdog charged with overseeing the rollout, involves a launch date of December 2022.

The total budget for the project has now risen to £9.3 billion – £3.1 billion more than originally planned.

"The success of the Emergency Services Network is critical to the day-to-day operations of our emergency services that keep us all safe," said Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office.

"The Home Office needs a comprehensive plan with a realistic timetable that properly considers risks and uncertainties.

"It has already been through one costly reset and is in danger of needing another unless it gets it’s house in order."  

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