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Testing Delays Schuylkill County Network Upgrades



Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville, Pa.

December 5, 2013 By Mark Gilger Jr., McClatchy News Service

Testing on the $16 million upgrades to Schuylkill County, Pa.'s public safety communications network has pushed the upgrade project completion date back about six months.

Scott Krater, county communications director, told the county commissioners after a work session Wednesday that installation of a security system and coverage testing has delayed the project.

The security system will prevent outside radios from accessing the network, Krater said.

Coverage testing also needs to be done when leaves are on the trees. Like terrain and other solid objects, foliage can cause radio interference and winter is not the optimal time for testing. The contract with Motorola Solutions Inc. also requires testing when leaves are on the trees, Krater said.

The Federal Communications Commission extended the county's waiver for the project to October 2014.

However, Krater said everything else is in place and the system should be online by June 2014.

"We hope to have dry testing by April or May," Krater said. The FCC mandated the upgrades in 2012. Narrowbanding allows more radios within a spectrum by reducing the widths of the signals produced.

The county is paying for the project with a $21 million bond issued in October 2012.

The county commissioners also approved a community development block grant program to demolish two structures at 58 and 60 E. Main St., Tremont. Gary Bender, county director of community development, said the dilapidated structures sit between the old Tremont Fire Company building and a general store.

The commissioners' retirement board meeting will be held Dec. 11 immediately following the commissioners' public meeting. The monthly prison board meeting will also be held that day at 11 a.m. in the prison classroom.

(c) 2013 the Republican & Herald (Pottsville, Pa.)


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