Alabama's plans for building out the long awaited 700 MHz interoperable communications system is moving right along. The system build out is taking the traditional pattern of building from the gulf coast, northward with the initial emphasis on serving the major metropolitan areas. The typical reasons for moving to 700 MHz are generally stated as improving interoperability, communications coverage, and enhanced capabilities.
A recent article
relating to the installation of a 700 MHz system in Madison County Alabama states the
benefits generally associated with the benefits of 700 MHz. There are a few things the article left out
(such as cost), but that is a topic for another day. Suffice if for now to say that there is a lot of interest in 700
MHz at this time.
The current focus of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security seems to be on
sharing information with State agencies and government users in the major metro
areas with equipment presentations apparently being limited to a single manufacturer. Unfortunately, the scarcity of information
available to the public is causing some confusion, and for that matter, even
some of the agencies the proposed network is supposed to serve.
For the sake of clarification, it should be
noted that there is more than one 700 MHz equipment supplier. It should be further noted that radios
costing thousands of dollars each are generally beyond the reach of smaller
public safety agencies, and for that matter outside the budgetary constraints
of most state agencies, and all but a very few county or municipal users.
Having said that, the point being made to
Alabama public safety users is this.
First, you have a choice. You
are not limited to purchasing from a single supplier, unless the system is
being configured in such a way that only one brand of equipment is
supported. In that case, as a taxpayer,
you are entitled to an explanation from those responsible for system planning as to why they have chosen sole source technology that constrains the benefits of competitive
bidding and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. For a good example of what can happen when a system is built based on a proprietary standard, click here.
Assuming that the system is based on open
architecture, which it should be, you should obtain the operating
specifications to allow review of the offerings of multiple vendors and choose
the brand, model, and vendor of your choice.
There are several vendors approved for 700 MHz interoperable radio
equipment on the Alabama State Contract and many more on the Federal GSA
The second point is that you don't have to
purchase all new 700 MHz equipment to be a part of the network. You can purchase, or continue using, the
radios of your choice and connect to the 700 MHz network with a one time
investment of just $7,500. The
Dadeville Fire Department has one of these units which offers interoperability
on 700 MHz, 450 MHz, and 150 MHz using the Federal P25 operating standard. Click here
for more information.
The final thing to remember that that you
have a voice in the decisions that will be made in your area. There is a choice, actually multiple
choices. We encourage you to use them. You can start by calling us for more
information at 205.854.2611 or drop us an email to ServingU@falcondirect.com.
Welcome to our Blog site. Going forward, the following will be our only post for 2017. We've been on the web for a long, long time, but we figured it was time to do something different. You can read all about our 2017 Plan in the post below. In closing, let me share the words of my favorite poet - And they copied, and they copied, but they couldn't copy my mind, so I left them sweating and stealing, a year and a half behind. Rudyard Kipling