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Miami-Dade Migrates To Digital Radio

Date: 2013-01-11
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Miami-Dade County Information Technology Department has successfully transitioned more than 10,000 General Government radio communications users from an 18-year-old analog radio platform to the largest and most advanced digital radio system manufactured by Harris Corporation.   This is one of the largest Internet Protocol based digital radio systems ever deployed in the Western Hemisphere in terms of user density and traffic. Among the County agencies that migrated to the digital platform are Water and Sewer, Seaport, Aviation, Public Works and Waste Management, Transit's Bus Operations, Fire Rescue's operations on the 800 MHz system and the Miami-Dade School Board.

“This extraordinary accomplishment could not have been possible without the participation and advice in the development of a solid contract by our County Attorney’s Office, participation from ISD Procurement Division, and the strong partnership that the Radio Staff has developed with Harris Corporation and Cooper General,” said Angel Petisco, Chief Information Officer/Information Technology Department Director. “Their dedication and attention was the cornerstone for the successful execution of such a complex project. We are truly fortunate to have such talented and dedicated individuals representing Miami-Dade County. The benefits of their accomplishments in this project will be felt by this county for years to come.”

In partnership with Harris Corporation and County departments, users on the first of two analog sub-systems were transitioned to the new infrastructure in a period of less than two years since the Board of County Commissioners approved the contract back in 2010. Rigorous planning and commitment from all entities working as a team, resulted in a successful cut-over without any major incidences. Users on the new system have expressed high satisfaction over the improved audio quality and signal coverage the new platform is providing throughout Miami-Dade County.

The second analog radio sub-system which serves County public safety departments including Miami-Dade Police, Corrections and Rehabilitation, and 24 municipalities is scheduled to be replaced with the same digital technology by December 2013.

The new radio system will provide the capability for all participating County entities and municipalities to communicate in both 800 and 700 MHz frequencies. The system is based on APCO’s Project 25 Public Safety standards endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security as one of the critical component of the Interoperability Continuum to allow multiple agencies to communicate across disparate radio systems as well as facilitating the use of two-way radios from different manufacturers to communicate on the same radio platform.

During this transition, the Information Technology Department’s Radio Division in partnership with Harris Corporation and Cooper-General Corporation continues to replace its obsolete 800 MHz radios with new dual band (700/800) Harris P25 digital radios.  More than 16,000 were replaced or reprogrammed in 2012 and approximately 14,000 additional radios used by law enforcement agencies will be replaced  or reprogrammed by the end of 2013. 24,000 of the estimated 30,000 radios currently active on the County network were acquired at no cost to the County as a result of the County's successful negotiations with Sprint/Nextel from the Federal Communications Commission mandated settlement agreement that was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 2010.

Miami-Dade County Information Technology Department Radio Communications Division supports 9-1-1 emergency and non-emergency communications Countywide. Over 90 agencies take part in the County’s Radio System to include local government agencies, police agencies, Federal, State and Military Agencies averaging over 7.5 million calls a month.

- Corporate News/9-1-1magazine.com (via Harris, 1/9/13)

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