Monday, November 16, 2009

County Commissioners Sign Agreement with Sprint/Nextel

On November 10th we reported that Cumberland County was awaiting two contracts/agreements that were the cause of the delay for the P7200 release. The first agreement arrived late last week, signed by Sprint/Nextel and this afternoon Cumberland County Commissioners will sign this agreement. The second and final agreement, which is dependent on the first, will be soon to follow. Once this final agreement is signed, the exchange process can begin. Check back for information on the signing of the final agreement!

The offical press release can be found below.

November 16, 2009

CONTACT: Ted Wise, Director, Cumberland County Department of Public Safety

Cumberland County One Step Closer To Release of New Radios for First Responders

Cumberland County, Pennsylvania- November 16, 2009 – Cumberland County Commissioners signed a key agreement today. This agreement between the County and Sprint/Nextel addresses the financial responsibilities associated with the release of approximately 1,500 portable radios to be used primarily by first responders—fire, EMS and police. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined that Sprint/Nextel holds the financial responsibility for this reconfiguration, including the exchange of portable radios and radio training.

These new P7200 series portable radios became necessary when the FCC began a nationwide Band Reconfiguration for operators in the 800 MHz band. Phase 1 of this Band Reconfiguration reassigns frequencies for those using the 800MHz band, which includes Cumberland County and Sprint/Nextel.

For more information on this process, visit or the DPS 800 MHz Radio Blog

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DPS One Step Closer to Release of P7200 Series

There were two contractual items delaying the long awaited distribution of the replacement portable radios – one was a cumbersome change order to the original agreement with Sprint/Nextel for the replacements. Cumbersome only because of the terms of the FCC Transition Administrator and Sprint/Nextel is responsible for funding the transition; and a second separate vendor agreement between the County and Harris (formerly M/A Com) to complete portions of the work required for re-banding. Just recently we received word that the change order was finally approved by the FCC. This was a painfully long negotiated process. The vendor agreement includes the Sprint/Nextel original agreement and various amendments that required multiple approvals. The County could not sign the vendor agreement until the amendment processes received approval. We hope to have the singed amendment very shortly from Sprint/Nextel and thereafter we can proceed securing a signed vendor agreement. We know this has been a long process for you the user and are working diligently to complete these final steps and begin the portable exchange process. Keep checking back for the latest updates.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

October PTT Report

Over the last year and a half DPS has been compiling monthly reports for the 800MHz system. The report shows statistics on Push to Talk (PTT) throughout the County as well as tower site statistics. In October there were 344,802 PTT’s, brining the 2009 total up to 3,507,923 PTT’s.

The following stats are discipline specific county wide.
Law Enforcement- 114,184 PTT’s
Fire- 37,622 PTT’s
EMS- 48,760 PTT’s
Agencies- 77,660 PTT’s
DPS- 621 PTT’s
County Departments- 59,653 PTT’s
Municipalities- 6,302 PTT’s

Monthly PTT’s from the main dispatch (9-1-1 Center) talk groups:
22,172 PTT’s
EMS- 41,213 PTT’s
Police West- 21,075 PTT’s
Police East- 68,627
Police Data- 21,192

The average daily PTT’s was 11,123.

Top PTTers
County – Dept. of Transportation with 36,720 PTT’s.
Public Safety – W.E.M.A. with 196 PTT’s.
Law Enforcement – Silver Spring Police with 12,753 PTT’s.
Fire – Naval Support Activity Co.37 with 2,048 PTT’s
EMS – East Pennsboro Twp EMS Co.75 with 425 PTT’s.
Municipal – Lower Allen Public Works with 1,638 PTT’s.

Voice calls generated per site
Lambs Gap- 275,331 calls
Reesers Summit- 251,487 calls
EOC- 248,767 calls
Courthouse- 168,659 calls
Commonwealth Technology Center- 140,883 calls
3 Square Hollow- 128,304 calls
Ship Cell- 125,337 calls
South Mountain- 125,007 calls
Waggoners Gap- 99,852 calls
Rose Garden- 90,239 calls
Boiling Springs- 85,759 calls
Shippensburg- 84,055 calls
Dickinson Twp- 68,769 calls
Holy Spirit- 42,868 calls
Kings Gap- 34,667 calls
Pine Grove- 7,452 calls
*There were no queued calls this month.

As of this report we have 2,300 radios on the system in Cumberland County. Total number of talk groups to date = 378 on the system within the County.

Control Stations: 20
Mobiles: 661
Portables: 1,619
These numbers include a few of the State radios that we’ve allowed to use our system.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DPS Accelerates Preperations for P7200 Series Exchange Process

Over the last two years many radio users have been left wondering why the process leading up to the P7200 portable exchange has been taking so long. One reason for this prolonged wait has been the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) ongoing Band Reconfiguration Process. Public safety radio systems are not the only users to operate within the 800 MHz band. Specialized Mobile Radio Systems, in particular Sprint Nextel, also operate within this band. As more and more public safety agencies began to utilize the 800MHz band in recent years, problems began to occur. Often times Sprint Nextel, one of the cellular telephone companies previously licensed to operate on a frequency close to or adjacent to a public safety system caused severe interference and often times caused the public safety system to not work to its full capability. To combat this problem the FCC has embarked on a 36 month transition that will reconfigure the banding and frequency assignments. New frequencies or spectrum will be reassigned with the Public Safety Sector relocating to the lower portion of the band, and cellular services spectrum will be moving to the upper portion of the band. The industry determined that it is not the location on the spectrum band that will improve the public safety systems, but rather the separation from the cellular services that cause interference.

The FCC has determined that all costs associated with this project have been deemed the responsibility of Sprint Nextel. Nextel has committed to providing $850 million for this project. Rebanding spectrum is an ongoing process that could take years to complete and is occurring nationwide. Cumberland County, as well as, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are going through the same process simultaneously. Obviously there are many players involved, including but not limited to our County, Sprint Nextel, Harris, and the FCC Transition Administrator. These groups have been working together for the last two years to address the rebanding process, to determine what was the appropriate inventory of portable radio and ancillary equipment, what the costs for exchange and installation and replacements in the exchange and who and what financial responsibility would have to be assigned. Currently we are waiting for the appropriate final authorizations to complete Phase I of this reconfiguration so that proposed inventory of replacement P7200’s portable radios can be released.

As we work towards the completion of Phase I, our department has been working diligently to make sure everything is in place for the immediately release of the P7200. A replacement schedule was developed and agreed to. A warehouse facility has been prepared and staffed in the recent weeks in preparation for the delivery and inventory of the radios coming into our possession. Both of these actions need to be in place and operating so that the exchange process can begin as rapidly as possible.

As we are resolving the final remaining issues and we inch closer to the exchange process this blog will be used to inform everyone and was established as part of our commitment to keeping you, the user up to date. We will continue to provide frequent updates as the exchange process gets underway in earnest.

Check back soon for the next blog update soon! In that blog we will address why the reconfiguration process requires new radios like the P7200 series.