The first few months of 2015 have been busy ones and there’s no sign of the pace slowing as major emergency communication initiatives advance. Chief among them is the Next Generation Program, a multi-year initiative that will enhance radio communication among first responders in the Lower Mainland and parts of the Fraser Valley.
The selection of Motorola Solutions for the provision of infrastructure equipment sets the stage for pilot testing of the next generation’s technology design and capabilities. The pilot will be carried out under the careful supervision of E-Comm technical specialists and our partners in emergency services who are overseeing the entire radio replacement initiative. The expertise, collaboration and rigour employed by police, fire and ambulance representatives from Coquitlam, Delta, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, BC Emergency Health Services, RCMP Informatics and Transit Police, will ensure a resilient, best-in-class radio system that supports responder and public safety, is in place for years to come.
On that note, the recent Government of Canada announcement of a full 20 MHz of 700 MHz radio spectrum will be designated for public safety broadband use, is extremely positive news for the emergency services community. This spectrum will facilitate future mission critical wireless capabilities including high-speed transfer of data and video between agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies. The next generation radio system E-Comm and our partners are implementing is complementary to these future wireless technologies.
On the financial front, I am pleased to report some equally important news. As a result of significant new partnerships over the past few years, E-Comm will eliminate the last of its deficit in 2015, three years ahead of schedule. This deficit is the remnants of our original start-up, related to dispatch operations, more than 15 years ago. In addition, I am also pleased to report that most radio shareholders received rebates on their shared radio levies of an average of 3.8% in 2015.
These positive results are made possible due to previous years’ expansion of services and technology partnerships, and our commitment to cost containment, while emphasizing technical, operational and organizational efficiency and effectiveness to maximize the overall value that E-Comm provides.