The current network that connects 165 remote sites, to aid search and rescue operations around the UK, is run on copper wiring. It is out of date and no longer viable so is being decommissioned in the Radio Network Infrastructure Replacement Programme (RNIR) that began in the summer of 2020. The RNIR is expected to take at least three years to complete.
The new network
The new radio network is being built by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, who oversee HM Coastguard, will run on modern fibre cables.
Where it is not possible to install new cables then line-of-sight microwave links will be used.
The new hybrid network will be more secure and reliable, with new fibre cables being laid around remote areas of the UK, it could enable those close by to access superfast broadband services from their supplier.
The new fibre-based hybrid radio network will make sure HM Coastguard can continue to:
- communicate with ships, smaller craft, and other leisure users in UK waters to advise on navigation hazards or receive distress alerts
- track shipping and other craft through automatic identification systems
- communicate and co-ordinate search and rescue assets including HM Coastguard Rescue Teams, lifeboats, HM Coastguard helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and the emergency tug, which all save lives and protect the marine environment
- launch and coordinate hundreds of charitably funded lifeboats that save lives
Further details email: