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August 8, 2018

Manitoba to Replace Public Safety Communications Service

A Government of Manitoba, Canada news release
THOMPSON—August 8, 2018—The Manitoba government is awarding the tender for the replacement of the province’s public safety communications service to Bell Mobility following a successful tendering process, Premier Brian Pallister announced here today.
“Ensuring the safety of Manitobans is our duty,” said Pallister.  “During an emergency, it’s essential that we have reliable communications service across the province including in rural and remote areas.  This new digital two-way mobile radio system will provide expanded coverage over a more secure network and improve the safety of our first responders.”
Pallister noted the new equipment will replace the outdated FleetNet system used by public safety organizations such as fire, ambulance and police services, and the very high frequency (VHF) radio system operated by Manitoba Sustainable Development and used by conservation officers and forest firefighting crews.  Public safety organizations will rely on this service to remain safe while protecting the lives of Manitobans, the premier added.
Bell Mobility will be responsible for end-to-end service delivery and the ownership and operation of towers, radios and antennae, as well as other needed infrastructure.
“As a company dedicated to bringing the best communications services to Manitobans, Bell MTS is proud to be selected by the provincial government to lead the transformation of Manitoba’s public safety communications service,” said Dan McKeen, vice-chair, Bell MTS and Western Canada.  “Public safety organizations across the province will benefit from advanced communications technology enabling enhanced safety and security for the people of Manitoba.”
The new equipment will include radios with GPS, which can track the location of first responders to improve their safety.  Advanced radio encryption will ensure police operations are secure and the equipment will be compatible with other systems outside of Manitoba to enable co-ordination during emergencies. 
The premier noted five additional telecommunications towers will be added to expand coverage in northern Manitoba, and new mobile tower units will be available to provide additional coverage where needed on an emergency basis.
“Manitobans are smart shoppers who expect government to do the same,” said Pallister.  “To ensure best value for the taxpayer, we chose to go to tender and as a result, this competitive process resulted in a lower cost than we initially forecast.”
Total project costs for the replacement of the public safety communications service is expected to be $380 million, Pallister said, adding the new system will be implemented over the next three years.

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