Government Technology

New York Statewide Wireless Interoperable Communications Network Refocused on Regional Systems

April 5, 2009 By

us encourage the development of regional consortiums," Balloni said. "We recognize in our five-county region that most often our need is to interoperate with each other. But certainly that need goes beyond our five county regional borders to the neighboring regions. We need to be able to interoperate with them."

Financial Assistance Needed

"We make no pretense. We come with our hand out. We know that we can benefit from the state's resources, from their technological expertise and their ability to help us build out and maintain these systems once they're built," Balloni said.

"We believe original SWN costs are reduced with the savings leveraged to counties in assisting to upgrades to their radio systems," he said. "The reality is that counties like Onondaga have already committed $34.7 million to a radio project."

BAlloni said county systems provide state agencies with more robust coverage than would have been available under the old network design. "County systems are designed for portable in-street coverage. Our system was designed at 95/95 meaning that portable coverage on the street and within buildings is going to be very robust throughout the system."

"State and county goals and objectives are aligned regarding public safety radio communication. They are aligned already. We want the same thing. Closest car concepts, closest first responder help to the scene. Improved interoperability between state and county agencies. Let's get us all on one system-one group of systems that can interoperate. "

Balloni is looking forward to working with the state and is confident the technology exists to marry regional systems but says counties need to develop them. The state can help encourage that. "Of course encouragement would include monetary and technical assistance. Grant assistance. Anything that could possibly be done to help us build this out," he said.

Meanwhile, Corbitt said a lesson can be learned from the adoption Compstat, the predictive policing model developed in New York City. "We really have to sit down and do an inventory of information as to where each county is," Corbitt said.

"The SAFECOM continuum dictates that the regional approach is the best approach for interoperable communications," Allen said. As counties consider their data needs "we believe there is an additional opportunity there to develop a statewide mobile data system for all emergency services throughout the state," he said. "We also believe this is an opportunity to connect our 911 centers, not only for radio and data but also for a number of state initiatives that are out there including the NYSPEN portal as well as other state initiatives for emergency communications as well as early notification, like our AAS system as an example."

Editor's Note: Shortly after the state terminated its contract with M/A-COM, the company filed suit claiming the state's mismanagement of the project, not M/A-COM, was at fault in the failure of the project. Among other claims, the company cites the state's efforts to shore up its budget with default payments available under the contract. The state's failure to get buy-in from local governments that wanted to use portable radios on a network designed for use with vehicle-mounted radios was also at fault, the company wrote in the filing.

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