Monday, June 4, 2012

AFG 2012 Program Overview

After attending the 2012 AFG workshop, reviewing all available guidance material plus numerous phone conversations with DHS, my perception of the governance applicable to the 2012 AFG program is as follows:

Grant application period opens June 11, 2012 and closes on July 6, 2012.

Communications applications will be based on standards based equipment.  By definition, I read this to mean analog or P25 digital, nothing else including MotoTRBO or NEXEDGE which are NOT standards based technologies.

Applicants may apply for non-P25 digital equipment if compelling reasons are clearly stated which outline the need for this action.  If approved, the applicant is responsible for updating to P25 if and when directed to do so by FEMA at the APPLICANTS expense.  This provision also applies to applications approved in the 2010 and 2011 grant application periods.

Any equipment acquired with FEMA funds under the AFG program must be non-proprietary.  This means than any digital trunked repeater system using centralized control must be open to multiple vendors.  This means ONLY P25 digital  or LTR analog trunking meets the requirements for open architecture. 

Environmental and historical preservation requirements as well as FCC frequency planning should be done BEFORE grant approval.

All applications must be in compliance with the applicable Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) subject to review by the designated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Point of Contact (POC) for your State.

All radios purchased should have sufficient channel capacity to include programming of interoperable frequencies as defined by the applicable State Interoperability Field Operations Guide.  In Alabama, these frequencies are listed on pages 32 through 85 of the ALA-FOG.

Applicants considering the use of a trunked digital P25 radio system should be aware of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requirements for shared channel use of analog and digital systems.  In the case of MotoTRBO VHF systems, power emissions are limited to no more than 10 watts Effective Radiated Power (ERP) and digital data (GPS, Messaging, etc.) are not authorized.  For both VHF and UHF, analog voice communications have priority over data.  Every effort should be made to acquire FB8 channels for ANY digital trunked radio system BEFORE applying for a grant based on digital trunking technology.

If in doubt, call your Regional FEMA representative or the AFG Helpline BEFORE you begin preparation of your grant application.  Burch Falkner - At your Service!