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I bought a new car ...


An allegory for TETRA in the UK

I went to buy a new car. The latest model. I couldn’t really afford it, but the bank gave me loan so I would not have to wait. It was great. Fuel efficiency was the best I’d ever seen, speed, performance, seating capacity, safety features second to none. And it was so quiet! That used to be what set a Rolls Royce apart from the rest. It even came in the colour I wanted. I didn’t even consider any other model or make.

Mind you the price was a bit steep. I managed to convince the family though, that it was so good maybe we could skip a summer holiday or two to help pay for it? I signed on the dotted line, fixed up the loan and in a week’s time the shiny new car would be mine!

I found out today that there is a little glitch. Bit late to change my mind I suppose. The trouble is the luggage capacity is really no good at all for holidays, trips out or picking stuff up from the DIY store. This car will carry people but not things.

When asked, the salesman said it would carry things; just not much. But the next model would! It would be fully equipped, just like I wanted. No, it wasn’t available yet, and yes I’d have to buy a new one when it was in production, and yes it would cost a bit more than this one: but it was going to be really good!

Never mind, I know my new car was a bit expensive, but they have offered to fit me a towbar, and sell me a nice matching trailer to carry things in. I asked the family if they would mind no holiday for a bit longer…

Airwave TETRA gives the police really clear transmission of voice. It can send SMS text messages, and has encrypted data so criminals can’t easily listen in. It was supposed to connect with computers to carry data, but it is far too small and so incredibly slow, that it will not do this. The solution is for mmO2 to sell their own XDA mobile palmtop equipment to plug into Airwave and make up some of the deficiency. Oh, and we will be paying for it as well, through the Police element of Council Tax. The next version of TETRA is on the drawing board, and is supposed to carry data, but it is not available and will not be compatible with existing equipment. Who is going to buy that?

  Police to use Bluetooth to access intelligence records

  Jan 2005: Lancashire Constabulary starts mobile data trial. Where TETRA fails, buy the police a pocket computer each, so they can exchange data after all! Note this: ‘The trial is being run by supplier O2 Airwave, the company responsible for rolling out to all UK police forces, using both the £2.9bn tetra-based radio network, and the O2 GPRS network, depending on which application is being accessed by the user.’ Who’s paying for the doubled equipment and doubled access time?

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if TETRA was a car
Best value for money? ‘Sorry sir, luggage is extra! I do a very good trailer...’

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