Dutch public safety radio network
In the Netherlands, C2000 is a cryptographically secured
digital trunking radio network,
used by public services like police, fire and ambulance.
It is based on the TETRA standard and forms part of the country's critical
It replaced a range of analogue networks, and was planned for introduction in
2000, but due to setbacks it wasn't rolled out until 2004. The last analogue users
migrated to C2000 as late as 2007.
In 2023, the network had approximately 90,000 users.
C2000 was implemented under the responsibility of the Ministry of the
Interior, 1 but was later transferred to the Ministry of Justice and Security.
Its backbone is formed by a network of more than 600 fixed and 6 mobile
interconnected base stations
(masts), similar, but not identical, to GSM telephony.
In contrast to analogue networks, evesdropping by means of a
radio scanner is
not possible on C2000, as its traffic is encrypted by means of the
proprietary TEA2 algorithm. 2
Over the years, there have been regular complaints from users (in particular
the police and fire services),
with respect to coverage and reliability of the network, especially when
used inside buildings in critical situations. Such problems appear
to be caused by a combination of network issues, incorrect use
of the equipment and congestion on saturated talk groups.
In 2020, the C2000 hardware was replaced by equipment from the Chinese
company Hytera, 3 but this did not reduce the number of incidents.
C2000 is scheduled for replacement by NOOVA in 2025.
Dutch: Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties
(Ministry of Internal and Kingdom Affairs).
TEA = TETRA Encryption Algorithm.
Not to be confused with Tiny Encryption Algorithm.
Despite concerns from the Dutch intelligence services AIVD
C2000 consists of three basic components:
T2000TETRA network for voice and data communication
P2000Paging system based on the FLEX protocol
M2000Dispatch centres (Dutch: Meldkamers)
Note that T2000 and P2000 are two completely different non-integrated systems.
T1000 is available to all users, whilst P2000 is mainly used
by ambulance and fire services. Apart from T2000 (TETRA), the emergency
services (police, ambulance and fire services) also use a new integrated dispatch
system — Geïntegreerd Meldkamer Systeem (GMS).
In practice, the name C2000 is commonly used by the general
public to identify the T2000 TETRA network.
The diagram above shows a simplified setup of the C2000 network.
Central to the network are the 600+ base stations, located at strategic
positions throughout the country and connected to the Switching and
Management Infrastructure (SwMI). Also connected to the SwMI are the
various dispatch centres where emergency calls are handled.
The 90,000+ users of the network are each assigned a personal handheld
or mobile radio. They can speak with eachother and with dispatch via
the nearest base station, each of which can handle a finite number
of concurrent calls.
C2000 (T2000) equipment can be used in the following modes:
TMOTrunked Mode Operation, encrypted
DMODirect Mode Operation, not encrypted
The preferred mode of operation is TMO, in which all traffic
between mobile users is routed via a network of base stations.
This mode is also used by the dispatch centres. TMO is suitable
for point-to-multipoint communication. In specific situations,
mobile stations can switch to DMO for direct communication
with other users, without being routed though the network. DMO
can only be used at relatively short distances, but nearby mobile
DMO/TMO stations can act as repeaters.
The diagram above shows in which part of the radio frequency spectrum
C2000 is active. The base stations (i.e. the downlink) operate between
900 and 950 MHz, whilst 800 to 850 MHz is used for the mobile stations
(i.e. the uplink). These frequencies
are harmonised within Europe, to allow cross-border operation of emergency
services. For a detailed overview of the spectrum in The Netherlands
check out this poster
of the Dutch telecom authority RDI from 2017 .
In the 1970s and 80s, many different analogue communication networks
were in use with the public safety and emergency services (OOV) throughout
the Netherlands, with limited possibilities for interoperability.
It was clear that a more uniform and future-proof solution was needed,
one in which all services of all regions could communicate with each other,
and preferably also with the services of the neighbouring countries.
It was also clear that the future would be digital [B].
Planning for a new system started in the early 1990s, largely at the initiative
of the Police Signals Service (PVD) together with the police corpses of
the four largest cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.
It was decided to join the initiative for an official open European
standard for emergency services — TETRA — endorsed by the European
Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). This also raised the
opportunity to harmonise the assigned radio frequencies.
Pilots were run in three cities: Amsterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven.
In Amsterdam, the local Radio Monitoring Service (Bureau Etherbewaking)
took part in the pilots and in the planning of the various
talk groups. The early pilots coincided with a major restructuring
of the Dutch Police into a single region-based national police. 1
The new radio system was advertised to have a better coverage than
the old analogue networks, but early tests in the Amsterdam region
revealed that sometimes the coverage inside buildings was insufficient.
In addition, there were EMC problems.
Concern was raised about interference with
medical equipment at close proximity — caused by the use
of pulsed transmissions (TDMA) — which could lead to dangerous situations.
After evaluation of the results in 1992, the green light was given for
development of a police communication system, in which each region would
built its own network. The name for the new network was PCS2000 —
Politie Communicatie Systeem 2000 (Police Communication System).
It soon became clear however, that it would be too expensive for
the individual police regions and that it would be better to build
one national system for all public safety services.
The project was moved to the Interior Ministry
and renamed C2000 (Communicatie 2000).
In the past, the Netherlands had two separate civil police organisations:
Gemeentepolitie (city police) and Rijkspolitie (state police).
In 1994, the two organisations were dissolved into 25 regional police
forces. This situation lasted until 2013, when the regions were merged into
one National Police with 10 regions .
To prevent eavesdropping, which was easy on the old analogue networks,
C2000 uses strong encryption. The European Telecommunications Standards
Institute (ETSI) had assembled an international group of experts that
were united in the Security Algorithms Group of Experts, known as ETSI-SAGE.
It was decided to have two algorithm suites — TAA for authentication,
and TEA for encryption.
TAA was developed at the Royal Holloway University of London (UK),
whilst TEA was developed by a small team at
Philips Crypto BV in Eindhoven (Netherlands) .
After evaluation and approval by the other ETSI-SAGE members,
TAA and TEA were implemented as ETSI standards.
Initially, there were two flavours of the TEA algorithm:
TEA1 which was suitable for civil users and was approved for export,
and TEA2 which was intended for exclusive use by public safety
services within Europe. TEA2 — the stronger of the two — was used
➤ More about encryption
C2000 was expected to be ready in 2000, but due to setbacks
the target date was pushed forward several times.
In the meantime, a real-life trial — Proef in de proef — was held
in the Amsterdam region in 2000/01, to test the C2000/TETRA equipment
in practice during real and simulated incidents .
Afther a positive evaluation, C2000 was approved for implementation.
➤ Watch the trial video
On 29 May 2003,
further delays were announced along with a significant budget-overrun .
The actual implementation of the network was the responsibility of the
newly established company TetraNed — a joint venture of
KPN CC and Koning & Hartman (K&H) —
with Motorola as the equipment supplier.
KPN was the former state-owned monopolist PTT, and K&H was
the largest supplier of radio equipment to the public safety sector
in The Netherlands. Apart from supplying the TETRA equipment for
C2000, TetraNed would also be responsible for its maintenance.
The existing optical fibre network of the Ministry of Defense (NAFIN)
was used as the backbone of C2000. It interconnected the base
stations and dispatch centres throughout the country. NAFIN was
controlled and maintained by the Dutch Defense Telematics Organisation
To meet the requirements of the Dutch Government, several specific applications
were developed by Cuperus Consultants in Delft (Netherlands).
On 9 September 2004, TetraNed officially handed the network over to the
Dutch Interior Ministry.
In October 2007, the last emergency services were migrated from the old analogue
networks to the fully digital C2000.
The first handheld radios were supplied by Nokia, soon followed by
Soon after the introduction of the network, it turned out that the coverage
was insufficient, after which additional base stations were added.
Although C2000 was initially advertised to be more reliable than the
old analogue networks, it became clear that the coverage inside buildings
was (far) less than 100%. This was partly 'solved' by making the owner of such
buildings responsible for a solution to the problem. 2
In all other buildings, coverage could not be guaranteed.
DTO was later merged with Defensie Materiaal Organisatie (DMO)
which in May 2023 was renamed Commando Materieel en IT (Commit).
In the Netherlands, a local government can declare a place or building with
insuffient C2000 coverage a special coverage location, after which
additional C2000 equipment must be installed at the expense of the
owner of the premises .
By 2015 it had become clear that at some point the ageing C2000 system
had to be replaced . The number of hardware related incidents
was rising and spare parts were increasingly difficult to obtain.
There was a choice between migrating to 4G/5G technology,
or to issue a midlife upgrade of the existing C2000/TETRA network.
As the use of mission-critical OOV communication via LTE/5G was still
in its infancy, it was decided to go for a midlife upgrade of C2000.
In addition, the Dutch company Cuperus Consultants would develop
a new solution for the dispatch centres.
The midlife upgrade was awarded to the lowest bidder 1
— a group of companies consisting of 2Way,
Eurofunk and Hytera Mobilfunk — despite concerns from the
Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD
about the participation of the Chinese company Hytera .
According to the AIVD, Chinese companies should not be allowed to
supply mission-critical infrastructure. 2
The replacement C2000 network would cost an estimated 180 million Euros
and was scheduled for release in late 2017. But as problems kept piling
up, this appeared to be too optimistic. Most of the problems concerned
the interface between the new dispatch centres and the actual C2000 network,
which appeared to be more complex than anticipated . In addition,
the budget had meanwhile been overrun by 30 to 60 million Euros.
As a result, the old C2000 network had to be kept alive way past its
expiry date, despite the fact that spare parts were hardly available.
Between April 2015 and August 2017, no less than 2775 C2000-related
issues were reported, 33% of which were hardware related .
There were even situations in which spare parts had to be obtained
from surplus stores and flea markets.
Finally, in January 2020, the old
Motorola network was switched off and the
new Hytera-supplied C2000 network was taken into service,
just five years before its scheduled replacement.
Since then there have been numerous reliability issues and
incidents with the new network. In June 2020, a software update
had to be reverted as it introduced more problems than it fixed .
In March 2023, Police Unions filed an official
complaint with the Dutch Labor Inspectorate, about C2000 reliability issues and
lack of coverage, which leads to dangerous situations.
As a result, the government may have to invest in intermediate solutions .
In May 2025, the current maintenance contract for C2000 terminates, although
it can be extended by another two years.
KPN CC had hoped to be selected for the implementation of the
midlife upgrade but lost the tender to Hytera, after which
they began promoting IBARC2 as a suitable alternative for
fire services .
Although Hytera Mobilfunk is registered in Germany, it is a full
daughter of the Chinese company Hytera that has strong ties with
the Chinese Government.
AIVD and MIVD were concerned about the risk of
espionage (backdoors) and digital sabotage.
Although C2000 is a closed network — it is not directly linked to
the internet — Hytera must be given access to the network for
maintenance and support. Furthermore it uses the NAFIN fibre
network of the Dutch Armed Forces as its backbone.
Work is underway for a replacement of C2000 that should be ready in 2025.
The new system — working title NOOVA — will be based on LTE/5G technology.
It seems likely however, that the 2025 deadline will not be met.
Until then, the existing C2000 network will have to be serviced and
– when necessary – expanded.
From the launch of C2000, the network has been plagued with problems,
in particular when using the handheld radios inside a building, but
also during major incidents in which human lives were at stake.
Here are some incidents that reached the press:
2005Fire at the immigration detainment centre at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam
2009Crash of Turkish Airlines flight 1951 near Amsterdam
2009Attack on Queen's Day near the Dutch Royal Family
2009Shootout at the Sunset Grooves festival on the beach of Hoek van Holland
2011Major fire near Putte (close to the nuclear power plant of Doel)
2023Manhunt for three robbers near Rijsbergen 
20233-hour outage of the entire network
2023Discovery of vulnerabilities in the encryption
The total number of network-related issues is much higher though.
Between April 2015 and August 2017, no less than 2775 issues were reported,
33% of which was hardware relatd .
Many fire regions have meanwhile stopped using C2000 for point-to-point
by using the direct mode operation (DMO) of the handheld radios.
Some regions have even reverted to the use of alternative (analogue)
handheld radios for direct communication during incidents.
As a result of recurring problems
with the network, Police Unions filed an official complaint with the
Dutch Labor Inspectorate, as they claim the safety of police personnel can be
at stake during critical incidents .
The Inspectorate has meanwhile ruled the claim well-founded,
as a result of which the Dutch Government will be forced to make the
necessary upgrades to the system .
On most old analogue networks, voice and data was unencrypted, so that
evesdropping was simply a matter of using a radio scanner.
Some networks were protected with
voice scramblers, but these hardly
formed a serious obstacle for the fanatic scanner listeners of the days.
On C2000, eavesdropping is no longer possible as it is a digital system
with real digital encryption. Rather than using an existing public encryption
scheme, it was decided to use the proprietary TEA2 algorithm, which was a
European development. TEA2 is protected with an 80-bit key.
In July 2023, researchers of the Dutch security firm
Midnight Blue revealed
that they had found five vulnerabilities in the TETRA protocol set,
two of which are deemed critical.
One appers to be an intentional backdoor in the TEA1
encryption algorithm (not used by C2000).
So far, no vulnerabilities were found in the TEA2 algorithm that is
used in C2000.
➤ More about the TETRA:BURST vulnerabilities
In 2001, when C-2000 was still in its planning and trial stages,
it was decided to run a series of real-life tests in the
Amsterdam region, in which TETRA equipment was used in actual situations,
alongside the existing analogue equipment. In addition, the interconnectivity
between police, fire brigade, ambulance and military police were tested in
an operational context.
This video is an evaluation of the 2001 trial.
Dutch title: Proef in de proef
Source: MinBZK, 2001 .
C2000 introduction - Part 1
Video about the introduction of C2000 in The Netherlands for use
by police, fire brigade and ambulance service. Issued late 2001. PART 1.
Dutch title:Investeren in Veiligheid
Source: Nick Ringelberg (YouTube)
C2000 introduction - Part 2
Video about the introduction of C2000 in The Netherlands for use
by police, fire brigade and ambulance service. Issued late 2001. PART 2.
Dutch title:Investeren in Veiligheid
Source: Nick Ringelberg (YouTube)
Turkish Airlines flight 1951
This animation shows what went wrong with the C2000 network after
the crash of Turkish Airlines 1951 near Schiphol Airport in
700 rescue workers were present at the scene, whilst
the local base station could only handle 11 concurrent conversations.
This was later declared insufficient for a high-profile incident near the
country's largest airport.
Dutch title: Poldercrash
This is a short trailer of a longer instruction video that was
used to train new users on the use of the handheld C2000 equipment.
Opleidingsfilm - trailer
Migration to the new C2000
This video animation shows the migration from the old Motorola-supplied
C2000 network to the new Hytera-supplied C2000 network, which took place
on 27 and 28 January 2020.
Migratie naar het nieuwe C2000 netwerk 27 en 28 januari 2020
SystemDigital secure trunking two-way radio network
PursposeCritical infrastructure for emergency services
FrequencyT2000: 380-385 MHz (mobile), 390-395 MHz (base)
P2000: 169.650 MHz
Keys32 static cipher keys
Dutch: Buitengewoon Opsporingsambtenaren (BOA), handhavers, boswachters, etc.
- Landelijke Meldkamer Samenwerking (LMS), C2000
Rijksoverheid (Netherlands). Visited 27 July 2023.
- Wikipedia (Netherlands), C2000
Visited 27 July 2023.
- C2000 masten in Nederland
23 July 2012. Via WayBack machine.
- Scannermuseum, Historie: van kristal tot digitaal
Visited 28 July 2023.
- MCCResources, KPN wins Major Digital Radio Tender in The Netherlands
Control Room Technology, 20 October 2016.
- Hapering C2000-systeem tijdens klopjacht veroorzaakt door antenne-installatie
Security.nl website, 11 March 2023.
- C2000; de maat is vol
TBM, May 2023, p 26-28 (Dutch).
- Politiebonden dienen klacht in bij Arbeidsinspectie
NOS Nieuws, 15 March 2023.
- Brian van der Bol,
Inspectie: veiligheid agenten in geding door gebrekkig communicatiesysteem
NOS Nieuws, 27 July 2023.
- Witold Kepinski, C2000 network wordt pas in 2019 volledig opgeleverd
Dutch IT Channel, 12 February 2018.
- Kamerstuk 25 124-90, Nieuwe infrastructuur mobiele communicatie (C2000)
Answers to questions from the Dutch Parliament (in Dutch language).
Dutch Government, Tweede Kamer der Staten Generaal, 5 July 2018.
- Dutch Police, Geschiedenis Nederlandse Politie
History of the Dutch Police. Visited 2 August 2023.
- Cees Jansen, TEA co-developer at Philips Crypto BV
Crypto Museum, July 2023.
- Rik Sanders, Nieuwe softwarerelease C2000 teruggedraaid
Computable, 4 June 2020.
- Zembla, Calamiteit 2000
BNNVARA Television, 15 May 2018
- Evert Brouwer, OPS wijst C2000 de weg
Dutch Ministry of Defense. Materiaalgezien 07, 2 November 2015.
- C-2000 Proef in de proef (video)
Evaluation video about C2000 trials in the Amsterdam region (in Dutch).
Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs, 25 July 2001.
- Poster Het Nederlandse Frequentiespectrum
RDI, 23 October 2017.
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