back to article Home Office cops an earful for emergency network feck-ups - £3bn overbudget and 3 years late

A National Audit Office report into the unending nightmare of Home Office attempts to buy a new critical communications network has warned the project is likely to be three years late and £3bn over-budget. Originally due to be switched on in 2017, it is now hoped to be ready to go live in December 2022. This means a £1.4bn …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "It is already allowing people to make 999 calls from areas where it was previously impossible"

    999 calls are made from the public networks, whether POTS or mobile. What's that got to do with this project?

    I can only assume that the HO has got a replacement for Rudderless, someone so lacking in technical nous that they can relay this without a trace of cognitive dissonance.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      and the >>>almost 400 new masts built so far in some of the most remote areas of Britain<<< is also meaningless, that was happening (slowly) anyway.

      Power cuts around here drop the masts instantly, POTS is the ONLY method left, pity there aren't any phone boxes for PC Plod & Fireman Sam to use when they need to call for backup.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        The Airwave mast sites - and previously the VHF / UHF repeater sites - used by emergency services used to have minimum requirements for resilience in the case of a power failure with battery backup and even generator backup in some cases.

        As far as I know, there is no such requirement for the cellular masts they are proposing to use for ESN.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Perhaps new masts could be mounted on large red cast-iron boxes on each street corner ?

        2. Anna Logg

          I read elsewhere that the requirement for resilience during power failure has been watered down, no big surprise as providing battery backup for cellular has always been expensive in terms of rollout and maintenance. Then there's providing that resilience all the way back to the core network and out again.

          The whole concept of using a commercial cellular network for safety critical use is just bonkers.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I wonder if keeping the current system and spending the money on the people who actually respond to the emergency calls might have been a better idea.

  2. Alister Silver badge

    project is likely to be three years late

    Originally due to be switched on in 2017, it is now hoped to be ready to go live in December 2022.

    Friday morning maths?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Three more years late from the already revised two years late date - just spin

      I suspect the break even date is based not on the original running cost, but on the higher charges Moto are demanding to keep airwaves working past its original contract end date.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's political math.

      Year years from today is 2022.

      What do you mean that has got nothing to do with the project? It's not like we expect it to be delivered in 2022 so one more lie that's easily understood by the public is much better than an element of truth where we pretended it might be ready in 2017 before reaching the understanding that we had to completely start from scratch in 2018 and will probably realize there are quite a few things we can't do by 2022.

  3. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Flame

    Oh, wait, yet ANOTHER government IT project is years late and massively over budget.

    "Brexit is easy, no challenges, just Leave and everything will be fine."

    Apart from HMRC needing to stand up the most complex trade and tariff platform in history in 2 years. Clearly we've managed to stand this platform up and are ready for Brexit. Nope, it's not even close.

    Put this Brexit nonsense back to the people.

  4. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Mushroom

    And nobody involved is going to be held responsible when people die because of this.

    1. Cynical Pie

      Oh they will...

      its just it will be the front line staff rather than the bean counters and f@*£wits in government... I give you the Grenfell Enquiry as exhibit A

  5. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Unhappy

    up 49 per cent on first estimates.

    I find it a depressing comment on the UK government when i saw 49% over-budget and thought "Only 49% that's better than most government IT projects"

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Re: up 49 per cent on first estimates.

      Only 49%... yet!

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: up 49 per cent on first estimates.

        They haven't even signed the contracts yet. Plenty of time for the 10x overrun. 20x if HMRC get involved.

        The Home Office needs a fit-for-purpose investigation. Pity there's nobody competent to carry it out.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: up 49 per cent on first estimates.

        Has anyone calculated the percentage increase overall since the beginning of the millennium on all government IT projects?

        I would also love to know the figure written off as a loss over that period, of tax payer's money.

    2. TheSirFin

      Re: up 49 per cent on first estimates.

      Dont worry, Grayling hasn't got his hands on it yet...... but when he does, you can add a zero to that 49%

  6. alwallgbr
    FAIL

    Shambolic

    PTT doesn't work.

    "Back to back" operation doesn't work.

    Lacks resilience.

    Complete clusterfcuk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shambolic

      Add to that coverage is till pathetic - if you cannot use a EE cellphone on 4G somewhere, this system won't work.

      They have not started the aircraft (helicopter) coverage part. This was hard enough in TETRA as an aircraft has line of sight to too many base stations. My suspicion is that it will require a new overlay network, not costed yet.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Shambolic

        Add to that coverage is till pathetic - if you cannot use a EE cellphone on 4G somewhere, this system won't work.

        It's not just coverage; it's also capacity - the capacity to handle normal "civil" traffic while still handling a potentially high emergency services demand in the event of a major incident.

        They have not started the aircraft (helicopter) coverage part. This was hard enough in TETRA as an aircraft has line of sight to too many base stations. My suspicion is that it will require a new overlay network, not costed yet.

        It was a problem with TETRA, but IIRC the matter was resolved in software by forcing airborne terminals to ignore the majority of fixed sites (or timeslots within sites) and vice versa.

        I've commented previously about politicians and technology not mixing well (if at all) but in this case the civil service is so heavily involved (as was bound to be the case) that there is almost no hope.

        What became Airwave spent a long time in development (as PSRCP if memory serves) back in the mid to late 90s with proper proof of concept trials and all the rest of it before any major contracts being placed. Even then some promised caabilities never materialised because they were too demanding of time and bandwidth and were thus incompatible with ordinary speech traffic. Sales triumphing over engineering realities once again...

        I suspect that in the case of ESN engineering realities were firmly locked out of any discussions so that only Sales were involved, with the consequences being all too predictable. As far as I can see contracts were awarded without anyone being required to demonstrate a pilot system or equipment working, and the outcome is that with a lot of time having passed and a lot of money spent we are no closer to having a working system rolling out than we were several years ago.

        One thing ought to emerge at the end of it; a classic object lesson in failed procurement that can be studied in minute detail without any significant chance of the same blunders being avoided on some future project.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shambolic

          Capacity is resolved by the special status GOLD sim cards, allowing civilians to be dumped out of the network. It still gets tricky on nationwide events like New Years Eve etc

          Limiting cell choice worked in TETRA because cells work to 56 km timing limit with line of sight.

          4G cells are much smaller (istr 14 km) so an aircraft will detect cells way outside of radius.

          Fast moving helicopters pass through small 4G cells very rapidly

          I don't believe the emergency services really need streaming video. A doctor once told me that a camera pointing at an accident victim just shows blood, he actually wanted to see data from the EEG, something even TETRA can right now

          Video will actually be abused by senior officers and politicians making speeches to the grunts on the ground and checking that their uniform is just right

          1. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: Shambolic

            Capacity is resolved by the special status GOLD sim cards, allowing civilians to be dumped out of the network. It still gets tricky on nationwide events like New Years Eve etc

            Apples & Oranges, IMHO. That technique works on existing mobile networks (see MTPAS, previously known as ACCOLC) and is used sparingly, IIRC. Note that in this scenario the emergency & ordinary networks are distinct and separate. In the event of a sudden major emergency there is a delay before it can be invoked, for practical if not entirely technical reasons.

            With the proposed ESN civil users and emergency services would be sharing a network so there would be a period of confusion with overload likely until civil users could be inhibited; it cannot be done purely on the basis of special SIM cards. (IIRC CESG would not allow the use of SIM cards in TETRA terminals anyway, so the SIM card route might be "out" anyway.) From a commercial perspective - given that there is a single network supplier (EE) - the supplier is not going to want civil users to be at material risk of being locked out to satisfy emergency service needs so for the system to be effective there will need to be significant excess capacity to cope with demand surges without needing to shed civil load more than very occasionally.

            Airwave has built - in surge capacity; unless ESN has more or less the same provision then there will be an inevitable degradation of service for both categories of user, and that will be unacceptable to both categories as well. I fear that what is being planned is the equivalent of a single lane motorway on the basis that it will cope with the traffic provided that demand is evenly spread over any 24 hour period with no morning and evening peaks.

            I don't believe the emergency services really need streaming video.

            I remain to be convinced as well; perhaps they really do need it but I would very much like to see the actual user requirement. Quite apart from guzzling bandwidth it will also guzzle battery power and that can be a precious commodity.

            A doctor once told me that a camera pointing at an accident victim just shows blood, he actually wanted to see data from the EEG, something even TETRA can right now

            One of the limitations of TETRA is data capacity, because as designed data transmission uses the control timeslot, and that can degrade other users' access to the network. It can be made to use traffic timeslots (again possibly to the detriment of voice - only users) but TETRA data speeds are by modern standards woefully low; I have a feeling that the ability to transmit data was a TETRA feature that was over - sold at the outset, but that might be my memory playing tricks on me.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Special status GOLD SIM cards??

            "Capacity is resolved by the special status GOLD sim cards, allowing civilians to be dumped out of the network" ... codswallop!

            You are confusing priority access (to the network) with capacity (ability to move traffic).

            Priority access to the network is achieved with two sophisticated features that are part 3GPP 4G/LTE:

            1) QoS Class Identifiers (QCIs) - Special quality of service indications in 3GPP Release 12 (QCI numbers 65, 66, 69 and 70) provide the mechanism for voice and data signalling to be given priority access to a 4G/LTE network. QCI 65,66,69 are used for Mission Critical PTT (MCPTT) service including the SIP signalling and Secure RTP stream while QCI 70 is used for data applications. These QCIs are applied to dedicated EPS bearers (bit like a VLAN but over 4G) and have a much higher weighting in the EBTS packet scheduler ensuring packets get transmitted in a timely fashion even on a highly loaded cell.

            2) Allocation and Retention Priority (ARP) which defines how EPS bearers are set up and/or created during handover to/from a cell, for example the SIP and SRTP streams for MCPTT voice [which only need a few kilobits] may 'premempt' some of the bandwidth being using by someone web-browsing or playing games. Bearers are given ARP values to determine who may preempt or may be preempted.

            One of the major problems for the Home Office and ESN is that devices need to implement 3GPP Release 12 and the majority of the devices in the market place are 3GPP Release 10 or Release 11 and don't support the prioritisation facilities (specifically the Emergency Services QCIs).

            Silicon that supports 3GPP Release 12 has only started to appear on the market place in the last 4-5 months.

            G.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: New Overlay Network (Was: Re: Shambolic)

        Yes the Ait-to-Ground (A2G) aspect of the project includes a new overlay network operating in TDD Band-40 (2.35GHz) otherwise known as the top-half of the former amateur radio 13cms band.

        The problem has gotten really complex as some users insist on up to four radios in an aircraft, plus at these frequencies the antennas are directional and there are problems with fixed wing aircraft needing multiple sets of antennas so that when they bank and turn one set is still facing the ground and not in shadow of the fuselage.

        G.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: New Overlay Network (Was: Shambolic)

          2.35 GHz is not going to give great range, so this overlay will require a lot of base stations. A hundred or so for nationwide airborne coverage, x10 more if landed aircraft are to be covered

          Is this in the budget?

    2. David Shaw

      Re: Shambolic

      Well, I did write a one page memo many years ago about Tetra, sorry Airwave_1_PSK

      tetra sigint and I found quite a few faults then - but I couldn't compete my accurate reality with whoever was buying people lunch (and promising jammy Tetra 2 QAM tomorrow)

      this competing system, with data, has always worked a bit better tetrapol sigint in (most of) France & Spain, tho' why does Lyon Pol use tetra?, lots of good restaurants in Lyon - is that a clue?

      Oh, and UPS have been dropped from most BTS, simply because the commercial power availability is rated as quite high, several 9's , in fact under normal circumstances. What the gov might not have yet worked out, in that rare case of "not normal circumstance" when your commercial power is co-incidentally out, that you might want to co-ordinate police & SAR (large comet arrives, unexpectedly) or Mi5 when Russia invades Salisbury, or the Johnson Riots kick-off. Plan for the worst, hope for the best , or have UK really run out of money?

      1. STOP_FORTH
        Happy

        Re: Shambolic

        Will the Johnson Rioters have to dress as clowns and turn up months late?

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Shambolic

        But power failures are rare, incidents requiring fire brigade are rare, incidents requiring ambulances are rare - so the chance of there being an incident involving a power cut AND fire AND ambulances AND police is microscopic.

        The odds of this incident also involving large crowds of civilians with mobile phones is obviously impossibly low

        1. Stuart Moore
          Stop

          Re: Shambolic

          Unless the fire brigade and ambulance are attending a fire caused by a substation issue, which also means power to the area has been cut...

          You assume these are all independent events. I can think of several scenarios where they're not

        2. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Shambolic

          @YAAC,

          I really hope you are being sarcastic, unfortunately my sarcasmometer isn't functioning on your post.

          But just in case you really believe what you wrote, can I point out that an incident only has to combine a power cut and one of either fire, police or ambulance for it to become a problem.

          Oh, and power cuts are likely to become more and more common, in the future. Already, in rural areas, there can be one every couple of months.

        3. alwallgbr
          WTF?

          Re: Shambolic

          @YAAC

          I assume you are joking!

          U/G HV cable faults injuring personnel

          Fuel spills from tankers in RTCs and where power is cut for safety

          Rural RTCs involving OH electricity cables.

          Just 3 examples

        4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Shambolic

          I think you missed /s from the end if your post, YAAC :-)

  7. Amentheist
    Mushroom

    How the hell do you mis-estimate a project that it goes 3 billion over budget?! HOW? I can't even imagine that figure in practical terms! 200mil savings a year? How much is the current system burning a year?

    Are they incompetent or corrupt or what??

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      "How much is the current system burning a year?"

      From TFA:

      "it costs £1.7m a day to run the Airwave network" (emph mine)

      So, about £620M per year. Ish.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      For £3bn I could buy every man, woman and child in England a £40 radio/phone.

      For £1.7m a day, I could give them all a SIM and contract too.

      And yet it's not enough to provide *just* emergency services with an equivalent that's better than a mobile phone + contract?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The emergency network MUST work and network busy, delays in setting up a call, dropped calls, one way calls and outage because of power cut are just not acceptable

        Still the TETRA maintenance price seems very high compared with a similar sized nationwide ESN overseas. The 3000 BS is one cause due to the low antennas in the UK, it should take about 1000 BS to cover the UK

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are they incompetent or corrupt or what??

      When airwave were sold off they ended up saddled with debt (owned by their owners, basically a way to bleed money out).

      But they also have properly resilient systems, with regular UPS tests at both live and DR sites and relatively frequent cutovers between those sites to allow for maintenance ensuring that configuration etc is properly maintained.

      They then have resilient core connectivity and processing, and a very thorough testing processes before software gets to the live network. The cost associated with doing things properly is quite high.

      Of course their contracts also give unreasonable control over the testing process, and the requirements around resilience are astronomical...

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Of course.

        But a 24/7 serious-levels-of-uptime national radio network has been done before, is being done already, and will be done into the foreseeable future.

        Why - all of a sudden - do the companies involved not know how to quote proper prices, why do the government departments suddenly not know how to procure, specify, contract and budget, and why are they all unable to do something that every country in the world has done to some extent?

        This is complex stuff. But if you gave £1bn to pay for a room of 1000 engineers, £2bn to do it, and the timescales given, they could probably get you way past anything ever being provided here... just on the OVERBUDGET, let alone the original budget. And would be handsomely recompensed for doing so on that basis!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >But if you gave £1bn to pay for a room of 1000 engineers, £2bn to do it, and the timescales given,

          But they couldn't produce £3bn profit - whereas quoting £3bn and then collecting an extra £3bn in overruns will

      2. Amentheist
        Meh

        I totally appreciate that but I'm still surprised that the estimates mare were so far out. Perhaps Someone along the line was pressured to cut corners so that they can "close the contract" or "meet a deadline" and 'hope' that it 'might work out ok' in the end..

    4. Down not across Silver badge

      How the hell do you mis-estimate a project that it goes 3 billion over budget?! HOW? I can't even imagine that figure in practical terms! 200mil savings a year?

      Hey its not so bad. It'll pay for the overrun in only 15 years (based on those figures) :-)

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. TheVogon Silver badge

    If they paid market rate salaries in the first place, they wouldn't need all the expensive contractors.

    The problem is that the government seems to think that pressing a button on a Tube Train is worth more than years of education and technology training and experience.

  10. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The NAO and the Public Accounts Committee in the Commons add a veneer of accountability to government spending, but that is all it is, a cheap, easily discarded veneer. At what point will anyone in government or the civil service (at a suitably high level) be held accountable for these messes. Grayling still steams on merrily and I am sure we will see the same delays and the continuation of airwave for many many years to come.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The NAO are obviously a total waste of money, they produce reports on every government project showing that it was a massive clusterfsck and yet nothing changes - just get rid of them.

      1. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        You forgot the "joke" icon. But just in case you're serious - At least, the NAO make this information public, which has got to be better than clusterfscks going unreported. So not a total waste of money.

  11. happy but not clappy
    Devil

    It'll be spec'd beyond physics, of course.

    Like all committee led bollocks, they are looking for the equivalent of a supersonic tank which can swim. Federation gives them the willies, but is essential here. And would cost way less than the 2 shit-ton's of cash quoted. And would be resilient etc etc. What annoys me is there will be a small group of slimy twats egging them on, while collecting huge fees. I'm looking at you Qinetiq, and your spawn.

  12. Simon Rockman

    The Three years late is a lie.

    The original go-live date was September 2016. Three years is the date from the previous slip.

    You can't say that El Reg didn't sound the warning bell: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/08/airwave_tetra_switch_off_gov_services_onmishambles/

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was one of the bidders in 2009 (?)

    I helped run a bid for this in 2009 (?). I forget when exactly.

    At the time we thought the requirements were going to be difficult to meet. The view from HO then was that this would be easy as we could take existing handsets and systems and just do a little bit on the side to get the 'little extra functionality' they needed. The problem was that the whole of the ESN requirements spec was based on HO assumptions that this would be an existing 4G mobile technology with a little extension, whereas in reality it was a dedicated ultra resilient system that had loads of special cases with a little bit of an existing 4G network on the side. Of course HO wanted the costing of a consumer 4G network rather than pay for the special stuff. We couldn't get them to listen to us as they knew best.

    The other thing that scared us was the way the towers were split up. This was to make sure no one company got everything but then created a industrial complex (not a cottage) industry of connectivity and interactions.

    We were quite pleased not to win as we were struggling to think if it was deliverable, we were right :)

  14. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Par for the course?

    Readers who have knocked around a bit know this is no isolated incident of IT related management incompetence in the public sector and that neither is the private sector immune. Under the watch of UK governments there have been decades of overspent, under performing, and abandoned IT projects.These are revealed through accountability to the National Audit Office and other watchdogs including cross-party committees in Parliament. The private sector is relatively unscathed; this is not a consequence of the neo-liberal much vaunted myth of enterprise inevitably being more efficient in delivering services to society (remnants thereof because 'society' is an invalid concept) than the public sector, but rather through lack of independent scrutiny; non-executive board members and share holders seemingly are unable, incapable, or unwilling to intervene unless disaster noticeably hits the bottom line.

    In the public sector large scale cock-ups almost inevitably are documented. One is led to ask what the point is of record keeping and bodies such as the National Audit Office given that lessons do not appear to be learned. Projects repetitively grossly overspent, failing to deliver everything promised, or abandoned, should not be put down to happenstance (repeated bad luck) or to serial incompetence by individuals participating in R&D and implementation. The problem runs more deeply and is remediable.

    Two particular factors impeding efficient delivery are as follows.

    1. Inappropriate involvement of people after an initial consultation process is complete.

    2. Deficiencies in the tightly regulated process of putting work out to tender in the private sector.

    Wide consultation among those to be affected is wholly justified at the initial stages of defining aims and objectives, and acceptable technological approaches. This is integral to effective change-management. Thereafter, specific individuals/groups may be consulted on a needs basis. Yet, after initial stages projects must be managed by one individual capable of grasping the broad picture and of questioning subject specialists with well directed enquiries and ability to recognise bullshit.

    The persons commissioning the project e.g. a minister and senior civil servants, must resist temptation to set up a plethora of advisory, monitoring, and oversight committees. Apart from a tiny number of non-specialists, possibly including MPs, given oversight of financial probity and with clout to assist the project manager bat away interference by unwanted parties, all matters concerning instituting committees, work groups, and advisory consultations should rest wholly with the project manager.

    Whereas committees tend to produce ungainly camels, projects directed by visionary single individuals have prospect of creating elegant unicorns.

    The matter of tendering process needs addressing too. In attempting to guarantee fair access to public service contracting and to stifle corrupt practices it actually places undue restriction on choices made by people commissioning work from the private sector. Coupled with the overall aim of inviting tenders in order to get a product or service at advantageous price the end result can be far inferior to that anticipated.

    So far as I know, the principles of inviting and deciding among tenders are uniform in the public sector. Perhaps these should differ according to circumstance. An important consideration is the cost and other consequences of wrong, despite following the rules, decisions when offering contracts. For instance, contracting after tender for supply of paper for office printers has fewer adverse consequences, and these less likely to be irremediable, if the suppler doesn't come up to the mark than if complicated equipment and services are sought.

    Also, the current tendering process is no guarantee against corruption at any level in public services; indeed instances of extremely dodgy decisions at ministerial level have been documented over the years; doubtless, these are the ineptly handled and thus observable cases of graft among centuries old tradition.

    This is summed up in a remark (likely wrongly attributed to Einstein): The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone asked the Chinese if they would like to run the system?

  16. GrapeBunch Silver badge

    Simplestan

    Maybe they're over budget because of an unexpected Brexit. Just subtract the 3 beeellion from the daily savings guaranteed by Brexit, and you're still miles ahead.

  17. JaitcH
    Happy

    I Remember Working On The Old STC UK-Wife System

    Back in the late 1960s STC in South London I was part of a team developing a 'go anywhere' radio for the Home Office. They were good enough to knock off as 'development' units and retune for Amateur work.

    The biggest delays arose from meetings with dreamers from the Home Office and Plod who introduced 'improvement' after 'improvement' to an extent that all we Amateurs had piles of systems at home cluttering up sheds and spare bedrooms.

    I imagine not much has changed.

    Working in the Far East, there are a few TETRA systems in use (Ha Noi and SaiGon / Ho Chi Minh City have them) for the more important security details. Meanwhile, our Traffic Police (Canh Sat), along with a few other specialised police forces (Vehicle Safety and Drug, etc.), got smart and skipped the clunkers that TETRA offered and employed custom multi-feature cell handsets that piggy backed on most of the GSM cell systems (we have over seven) that operate in VietNam (one also has coverage in Kampuchea / Cambodia and Laos).

    Amongst the features that have been provided for over 10 years are full country voice and data coverage; picture + fingerprint facilities; instant mini-networks for groups such as cross-border task forces, roadside stops (for 4-wheel vehicles!). They have electronic weigh-scales that plug into a cell data port and can access full truck and bus vehicle data.

    All the police forces have to do is pay for air time and the dedicated centralised system controls. All the mundane stuff such as site maintenance, fail-safe power, etc. are provided by the cell system owners.

    This means that cell terminals can be upgraded / replaced region by region at considerable savings and they have vendor independence, too.

    Our TETRA users usually acquire the more modern cell handsets with the resultant TETRA traffic falling close to zero. But the RF 'buzzsaws' are still functional, I have a TETRA base within 2 kilometres of my SaiGon / Ho Chi Minh City residence which on frequent occasions go wild and block other adjacent frequency services.

    To illustrate how technically current VietNam is SaiGon / Ho Chi Minh City has tens of thousands of CCTV traffic cameras which will be used for road usage changing as well as law enforcement (good luck with that). Even the inter-provincial highways are becoming fully covered with CCTV cameras that provide coverage even to remote areas - thanks to the heavy investment in fibre optic facilities - and are monitored from provincial traffic centres.

    Meanwhile, back in Blighty (and the USA) huge swathes of the country are lacking even broadband. Sad.

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