Cape Town extends TETRA radio network


Motorola Solutions and radio distributor Altech Alcom Matomo have completed an extension of the digital Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) communications network in the city of Cape Town, which is being used by public safety agencies and utilities to help protect its citizens and visitors.

In 2000, the City of Cape Town commissioned a Motorola Solutions Dimetra IP digital TETRA radio system providing coverage over the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA). It remains one of three municipalities in South Africa that operates its own TETRA network, and it is by far the largest, serving 11,000 of the City’s public safety, security and utility services, Altech and Motorola said in a statement. The system also provides reliable communication to 2,500 external users from surrounding municipalities, including the emergency medical services of the provincial government.
“Investment in the TETRA system serves as an enabler for improved service delivery to the citizens of the CMA,” said Councillor Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services, City of Cape Town. “This is achieved by providing reliable and effective communications and improving interoperability and response times during special events, emergencies and disasters.”

The city has upgraded the radio communications infrastructure to the latest version of the Motorola Solutions TETRA system — Dimetra IP 8.2 — to provide increased resilience.
“With built-in redundancy for maximum reliability and uptime, Cape Town’s TETRA network is now better able to continue operating despite power outages or major incidents such as the recent floods and mountain fires,” said Vikela Rankin, managing director, Motorola Solutions South Africa. “This enhanced TETRA system will provide clear, reliable and accurate communications to the police and other users in the field for many years to come.”

The system is set up so that all the public safety agencies’ communications – across a range of radio groups and interconnected with the telephone network – remain secure and private. Encryption ensures those with police radio scanners cannot listen in on conversations, while real-time Global Positioning System (GPS) location tracking and mapping enables the command centre to monitor users, such as police officers, and instantly dispatch support to their exact location.
“This new TETRA technology provides sustained reliability and also the capacity to further expand to cater for the changing needs of Cape Town,” said Brett Nash, managing director, Altech Alcom Matomo. “The city can now confidently equip key stakeholders with TETRA radios to serve as an emergency communications group during incidents when all other means of communication might fail.”