EE – part of BT Group – has installed and activated the Emergency Services Network (ESN) in Glasgow’s Subway stations, connecting all 15 Subway stations. This 4G connection will be important when first responders reach the stage of transitioning to ESN.

Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services will be able to, when they connect to the ESN network, transmit fast, safe and secure voice, video and data via the network, across all of SPT’s 15 Subway stations. In addition to the stations, the ESN is also being installed in the Subway tunnels to further boost critical communications along the entire route, with these being activated in the coming months.

Coinciding with these major works, EE is also enhancing the ESN delivery with commercial 4G services, ensuring that millions of people in Glasgow can experience the benefits of being connected to 4G on their daily commutes.

The 4G coverage will allow commuters, visitors and other Subway users on EE’s mobile network to call, text and access data, allowing access to social media and apps across the city’s Subway stations. The work has been completed in time for COP26 which starts on 31st October, when thousands of people are expected to use the Subway to move between venues during the global event.

The ESN network will remain protected from the public 4G network, and communication between the emergency services will take priority over all other network traffic – even at peak times – so that the speed of first responders receiving important data is not impacted.

Stevie Espie, Chief Inspector Police Scotland said: “The deployment of 4G coverage and ESN within the SPT Subway system is vital for the emergency services in Scotland. ESN will allow emergency responders enhanced, priority-based access to their critical communications system, even in busier periods, whilst the use of 4G will allow the emergency services to deploy innovative, digital technology to deliver the best service to the public.”

SPT Acting Chief Executive Valerie Davidson said: “SPT recognises the importance of good connectivity in our Subway system. We are delighted to see the installation of the ESN network which will be vital for emergency services colleagues once they are connected.

“In addition, as more and more people are using a smartphone, there is, quite rightly, an increased demand and expectation for good connectivity to be available everywhere as people move about during their day. 

“Working with EE, we are now able to provide that service to them in the Subway. Being connected is essential to our customers, and we are keen to see the roll-out of 4G to enhance our passengers’ experience on the Subway.”

Richard Harrap, Managing Director, ESN, BT’s Enterprise unit said: “Delivering the ESN to Glasgow’s Subway stations will see a huge benefit to our emergency service responders, enabling them to transmit reliable and consistent digital communications across the 4G network and give first responders immediate access to life-saving information in live situations and emergencies.”

“We’re delighted that SPT Subway has also agreed to us opening up the commercial services within the stations which will not only help emergency services but also support the public, allowing travellers to use the video, voice and data services that they love.”

As well as expanding 4G into the Glasgow Subway stations, EE has also extended coverage across Scotland, especially in rural areas. According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations report, EE has around 10% more geographic mobile coverage in Scotland than any other provider. Moreover, EE has already upgraded more than 19,000 of EE’s existing UK mobile sites to 4G to support the ESN network.