Communication for emergency and security services reinforced

Published on 12/12/2016 in News

Communication for emergency and security services reinforced

The terrorist attacks of 22 March 2016 are still fresh in our memories. The hurricane that raged across the Pukkelpop open-air music festival five years ago has not yet been forgotten, either. Such incidents and disasters are a real test for communication between the emergency and security services here in Belgium. To improve communication in the future, even in the event of major disasters, the government is investing € 117 million in Astrid.

Astrid, the telecoms operator of all the emergency and security services in Belgium, has set out areas to undergo technical and operational improvement so as to reinforce radio communication. In practical terms, investments are being made in the following three fields:  

  1. The number of receivers or ‘carriers’ on existing television and radio masts is being increased

    This means that in crisis situations, the communication channels of the emergency and security services can also operate via these masts. 

  2. Astrid is to install dozens of additional masts

    Extra masts are being set up at critical points, such as Zaventem airport, where the necessary cover needs to be guaranteed both inside and outside at all times. 

  3. Thousands of key figures are to be given new sim cards

    Ministers, the heads of state security, the OCAD/OCAM (Coordinating Unit for Threat Analysis), the Crisis Centre, the federal police and other leading roles in the National Security Council are to receive new sim cards. The aim: to ensure that they are easier to reach in the event of a disaster. 

Astrid, set up in 1998, has 70,000 users who make two million radio contacts every day. 

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