Continuance of Fleet Net System

Res #: 21-05A
Number: 21
Year: 2005
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskTel

Resolution No. 21-05A

WHEREAS, the Government of Saskatchewan is planning to eliminate the SaskTel Mobility Fleet Net System as of January 1, 2006; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that until the Government of Saskatchewan proves to Saskatchewan Emergency Planning that any new system is more adequate, that the existing SaskTel Mobility Fleet Net System remain in effect.

Response from Honourable Maynard Soontag, Minister Responsible for SaskTel:

I want to assure you that neither government nor SaskTel has any interest or intention of leaving emergency service providers without safe, reliable emergency communications services. SaskTel Mobility recognizes the value FleetNet 800 service has for emergency response providers, and careful consideration was given before a decision was made to turn down the aging service. SaskTel Mobility will continue to support the existing FleetNet 800 service until a new, more viable solution is in place. However, due to the age of the FleetNet 800 network, SaskTel Mobility cannot guarantee it will work reliably in the future. SaskTel will be investigating options to ensure the aging FleetNet 800 network will continue to meet the communication needs of FleetNet 800 users.

SaskTel Mobility is examining options as new technology becomes available. One option is "push-to-talk", an emerging technology in which a cellular phone is used much like a walkie-talkie. It offers similar functionality and many of the same benefits of FleetNet 800 service. Other options include cellular or text messaging services, satellite service, and private mobile radio systems. Although, we are confident that these solutions are viable choices for many customers, we are aware they may not meet the communication needs of all FleetNet 800 users.

Under the leadership of Corrections and Public Safety, several provincial government departments and agencies, including SaskTel Mobility and SaskPower, along with the RCMP, have joined together through steering and working committees to examine the issues surrounding emergency telecommunications in the province and to plan for the future. This group is examining communication alternatives to FleetNet 800 and recommendations are anticipated within the next few months.

SaskTel has been meeting with customers to address their concerns and will work closely with SARM, SUMA, SAHO and other provincial bodies to ensure that the organizations and its members are kept fully informed on the FleetNet file.

Response from SARM to letter from Honourable Soontag, May 11, 2005:

Dear Mr. Sonntag:

This letter is further to your letter regarding the FleetNet 800 service provided through Sask Tel. We were pleased to learn that Sask Tel Mobility will continue to support the existing FleetNet 800 services until a new, more viable solution is in place. However, this was mitigated with your qualifying statement that Sask Tel Mobility could not guarantee it will work reliably in the future.

It is our understanding that the FleetNet 800 system is working fine in other areas of the country. We are also still concerned with the potential cost of replacing the existing system. Adequate time and funding will be needed for municipalities to convert their systems. The FleetNet 800 system was promoted by the Provincial Government as the answer to emergency response communications and the Province assisted with funding to purchase the required radio and paging systems.

As it is the Province's decision to eliminate the FleetNet 800 service, the Province should cover the costs of a new system. Emergency services are vital to all citizens of the province. Any replacement to the FleetNet 800 system must be cost effective and must work effectively in all areas of the province, as the current system does.

Neal Hardy, SARM PResident