News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 8, 2018


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Expanding Coverage, Protecting First Responders and Keeping Manitobans Safe: Premier

THOMPSON—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Pallister noted the new equipment will replace the outdated FleetNet system used by public safety organizations such as fire, ambulance and police services, and the very high frequency (VHF) radio system operated by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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“The AMM welcomes today’s announcement of replacing the decades-old FleetNet emergency communications system and expresses its appreciation to the provincial government for improving public safety.  Reliable communications technology is vital for saving lives, keeping first responders safe and protecting local communities.” – Chris Goertzen, president, Association of Manitoba Municipalities.

“During any critical incident, communication is literally our lifeline.  Our front-line officers rely on the support of our Operational Communication Centre, which provides us with as much detail as possible regarding what we are approaching, checks in on us when we are in dangerous situations and sends us additional resources when necessary.  This new communications system is key to keeping the public and the officers there to protect them safe.” – Assistant Commissioner Scott Kolody, commanding officer, RCMP D Division.

“Communication is the foundation of our emergency services and public safety network across Manitoba.  Replacement of the aging FleetNet equipment in use today will not only improve range and clarity of the system, but ensure that our paramedics are better able to communicate efficiently and effectively with the provincial dispatch centre in Brandon and other emergency response organizations.” – Brent Bekiaris, chair, Paramedic Association of Manitoba.

“Public safety communications is an essential part of Brandon Fire and Emergency Services.  It ensures the safety of the public and our firefighter/paramedics when responding to emergencies.  The investment by the provincial government in a new service will ensure a strong and reliable system is in place for decades to come.” – Terry Parlow, deputy chief, Brandon Fire and Emergency Services.

“The safety and well-being of our community is paramount.  This new system will improve our ability to work with other emergency service providers making it safer for Canadian Forces Base Shilo residents and our emergency service personnel.  Being able to literally talk on the same wavelength will be better for everyone.” – Martin Haller, deputy fire chief, emergency services CFB Shilo, and former president of the Manitoba Fire Chiefs Association.

“This is great news for conservation officers.  It is a massive improvement over our old system.  The ability to talk directly with other agencies like police, ambulance and fire will definitely improve our officer and public safety capabilities.  Whether needing to talk to a community when dealing with a fire that is threatening them, or to co-ordinate a response to a road, water or wildlife accident in a park, the new radio service is something we have been waiting for, for a very long time.” – Jack Harrigan, chief conservation officer, Manitoba Sustainable Development.

“As a police service in small rural communities, communication can be a challenging at times which can put our officers and public safety at risk.  Our service looks forward to this new system and the changes being made in hope that it will allow our service the capability to have constant communication with other first responders and emergency services throughout the areas we police.” – Insp. Bruno Rossi, Manitoba First Nations Police.
“We are very excited to work with Bell MTS and support this important network.  Our technicians work in most of the remote communities and having a robust safety network is essential keeping Manitoba safe and growing.” – Ken Sanderson, executive director, Broadband Communications North.
“We are proud to be working with Bell MTS on the new public safety communications service based on Motorola Solutions’ mission-critical ASTRO 25 radio technology that will provide interoperable communications to Manitoba government agencies, the RCMP and municipalities across the province.  Manitoba’s first responders will have leading-edge, proven technology for seamless communications for their day-to-day operations and fast reliable response in any emergency.” – George Krausz, president, Motorola Solutions Canada.