Maine, Illinois and Iowa sign radio deals with Harris Corp.

Maine’s first responders will have mobile communications coverage throughout 95 percent of the state following an initiative spearheaded by Harris Corporation. The State of Maine Office of Information Technology (OIT) has selected the company’s Public Safety and Professional Communications business to deploy MSCommNet, a hybrid Project 25 (P25) VHF statewide digital radio system, based on the company’s VIDA (Voice, Interoperability, Data, Access) Network technology.

“We are pleased to announce that as a result of receiving our panel’s highest score, the Office of Information Technology has contracted with Harris,” Richard Thompson, State CIO of Maine, said in a statement. “Following a lengthy, open and comprehensive bid process, the hybrid system proposal was selected for a number of reasons, including a rapid, low-risk implementation plan, a proven, state-of-the art technology platform and a cost-effective approach that will utilize and consolidate our existing resources and systems. The Harris proposal provides the State with a clear roadmap to future technologies and growth, avoiding stranded costs.”

MSCommNet will provide Maine’s law enforcement, public safety, and public service first responders, with VIDA-based interoperability for statewide agency communication without dispatcher intervention.

“We are confident that Maine’s public safety and public service users will receive a reliable, robust interoperable communications system from Harris that will provide the support they need to focus on the tasks they do best — protecting and assisting the residents of Maine,” Dana Mehnert, group president at Harris RF Communications, said in a company press release.

Nevada, Florida, Delaware and Pennsylvania are also developing statewide radio networks based on technology from Harris Corp. Supporting suppliers on the Harris winning bid include Jacobs Telecommunications, Radio Communications Management and Alcatel-Lucent.

OpenSky communications system leveraged in Illinois

Naperville and Aurora, Illinois will work with Harris to build a new Internet Protocol-based (IP) 700/800 MHz OpenSky communications system, the company announced today. The two cities will purchase the system under a joint agreement, which will provide enhanced in-building and outdoor coverage to provide reliable, interoperable communications between first responders and front-line emergency personnel.

“The taxpayers of Aurora have entrusted us to find a digital radio system that not only meets the communication needs of first responders, but also provides the best long-term value for their money. OpenSky meets both those requirements,” said Ted Beck, chief technology officer, City of Aurora. “We worked closely with both Naperville and Harris to design a network that is ideal for our public safety personnel, and we can’t wait to have it operational and benefiting our community.”

The OpenSky network in the City of Aurora will have five sites, allowing for 40 simultaneous talkpaths, allowing the Aurora Police Department, as well as the Naperville Police Department, to utilize ‘hot’ standby IP switches to provide redundant reliability in the radio system’s configuration.

“Through its unique partnership with Naperville, Aurora is getting one of the most advanced communications networks available to help its first responders communicate better, and ultimately, protect the citizens of the region,” Chuck Dougherty, president of Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications, said in a statement.

Iowa gets Harris support for Joint Emergency Communications Center

In addition to the Maine statewide contract, Harris will partner with RACOM Corporation to design and deploy a radio system for Johnson County, Iowa’s Joint Emergency Communications Center. This new center consolidates all the police, fire and EMS dispatch operations of Iowa City with those of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

“Last year’s devastating floods were a powerful reminder of the need for a reliable communications system that connects our first responders throughout the county with other public safety agencies across the state,” Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, said.