Finland and Norway have implemented roaming in their administrative radio networks as the second pair of countries in the world. Public officers will use a shared communications channel when roaming. The connection is especially important in the border areas where the emergency response centre, social and health services, police, rescue officials, the defence forces and border guard can communicate in an accident or catastrophe situation securely and without breaks using the same bandwidth. This helps to ensure that those in need of rescue are brought to safety faster and more securely than before.
“Administrative radio network roaming will enhance cooperation between our countries in emergency situations,” says CEO Timo Lehtimäki of State Security Networks Group Finland. “From 2005 onwards cooperation between different authorities in Finland has been completely unique, even on a global scale. Now are able to extend this cooperation across the Nordic borders, which is very important for the future of this region. Finland and Norway have 736 kilometres of shared borderline in Lapland. In this sparsely populated area it’s challenging to provide rescue services quickly. The closest police or first aid unit may actually be in the neighbouring country.”
Until now, the network coverage for Virve devices and other equipment for officials has ended soon after crossing the border. This was the motivation for combining Virve and Nødnett using an Inter-System-Interface (ISI) solution. Now Finnish Virve phones can be used to make calls in the entire Norwegian administrative radio network and they can also be operated using Norwegian Nødnett base stations. In addition to calls, the Finnish Virve network relays 50 million SDS (Short Data Service) messages weekly. In the same way, Norwegian officials can now contact their colleagues anywhere in Finland and use Norwegian devices in the Finnish Virve network.
The Finnish network has been supplied by Airbus and the Norwegian network by Motorola Roaming between Sweden and Norway was used as a model for the technical solutions needed for combing the networks. These were the first countries to implement roaming for administrative radio networks one year ago.
Rules of cooperation will determine practical operations
In their agreement, Virve and Nødnett will lay out the rules for cooperation as well as details concerning maintenance, division of costs and other practical issues. The end users – emergency response centres, police, rescue departments, social and health services, the defence forces, customs and border guards—must agree on how to use the system, the talk groups, procedures and responsibilities. In short, who and which group to call on the other side of the border in a specific situation.
“For example, in case of a fire, in Norway the police are in charge but in Finland it’s the rescue department. Combining the operational models takes a lot of work,” says Lehtimäki. The project for the combining of the Finnish and Norwegian administrative radio networks, Virve and Nødnett, began in February 2017 when a preliminary agreement was concluded. The technical implementation has taken one year.
After working in a testing environment, the combining of the operative networks began and the first call was placed on 8 December. The networks are being tested into 2018.
Photographs of the network opening ceremonies and the first call can be ordered from Taina Kaitala, PR Agency Manifesto, +358 50 372 3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, please contact:
Jarmo Vinkvist, COO, Virve services, State Security Networks Group Finland, tel. +358 40 501 5195