Swedish and Norwegian TETRA networks begin cross-border radio communications interoperability testing as part of a project to support public safety co-operation at national borders.    

The Swedish Rakel and Norwegian Nødnett TETRA emergency services radio communication networks performed a successful extensive exercise on 16 November 2016 to promote long-term cross-border communication. 

Public safety organisations, such as police forces and ambulance services, of both countries gathered in the towns of Meråker (Norway) and Storlien (Sweden) in order to test the interoperable system in the Rakel and Nødnett networks. Marking the launch of the world’s first bi-national communication systems, both networks should be ready for bi-national operational use in early 2017. 

Even though both nations use different secure TETRA networks on their territory and different terminals, the EU-funded project Inter-System Interoperability for TETRA-Tetrapol Networks (ISITEP) has created a platform on which Swedish and Norwegian disaster relief organisations can easily exchange information. Previous tests in 2016 as part of the European vanguard project were successful.

The ISI project in Norway and Sweden is one of the most advanced multi-national radio communication projects in Europe and focuses, among other things, on mission-critical communications on both sides of the 1,619 kilometres long border. After almost three years’ of development, the basic bi-national interoperability between police and rescue teams is now in place.

ISITEP, which was presented in May 2016 during the PSCE Conference in Brussels, aims to find a comprehensive solution for interoperability between mission-critical communications systems based on different technologies. The project team comprises a consortium of 15 leading companies and academic institutions from ten countries. This three-year initiative to strengthen the co-operation between national emergency services started in 2013 and received EU funding of around ten million euros. The international TETRA Association, as well as first response organisations from nine countries, are also supporting the project’s activities.