BT this week rebuffed suggestions that a £1.5 billion project to supply a mobile communication network to the police is in danger of collapse - despite warnings from the police that they cannot afford it.
The company, which is entering two months of final negotiations with police forces in England and Wales over the voice and data contract, has suggested the police warnings are negotiating tactics.
BT program director Jeff Parris said he was "optimistic but not complacent" that a deal would be signed, and added: "If I was in their position, I might well be adopting that approach."
The network will provide encrypted voice and data communications and is based on the Tetra standard. It will replace the existing radio communications network which dates back to the 1940s and can be easily eavesdropped.
BT has staked £10 million in preparing the deal, which is the largest single deal yet funded under the principles of the private finance initiative. Bid partners Motorola, Nokia and systems integrator TRW, have also spent a further £10 million.
All 43 police forces have to accept the deal or the offer collapses. If accepted, the network will be rolled out from 2000 to 2004 in a 15 year contract.
For more stories see this week's issue of Computing
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