Deemed by the state of New York as being in default on its $2 billion contract to build a statewide LMR network, Tyco Electronics M/A-COM president Chuck Dougherty has vowed that his company will fix problems in the first phase of the network before the state conducts another test of the system this month.

In a letter published in The Buffalo News last month, Dougherty described M/A-COM's experience in New York as similar to the company's experience with other deployments, including statewide networks in Pennsylvania and Florida.

“We readily concede that we have all endured a host of challenges as we have begun deploying the system. And we readily concede that more challenges await us,” Dougherty wrote in his letter. “But our track record demonstrates that we have met — and will meet — these hurdles and will deliver a reliable, state-of-the-art system.”

Dougherty's letter was published a couple of weeks after the state of New York declared M/A-COM to have defaulted on its contract. However, the vendor twice certified that the first phase of testing in July revealed that the network — built in Erie and Chautauqua counties — was performing in a manner that was “unsatisfactory and unacceptable,” according to a letter written by New York CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart.

Based on the results of the July test, the state cited 19 “significant deficiencies” in the network that M/A-COM has been required to remedy by Oct. 16, after which further testing by the state's Office for Technology (OFT) will be conducted. If the state does not accept the first phase of the network, it has the right to nix the $2 billion contract and not pay any money to M/A-COM, which already has spent more than $50 million on the project and has secured a $100 million performance bond.

Among the deficiencies noted in the letter were remarkably high failure rates for equipment during July testing, including a 31% failure rate for mobile radios tested on the system, a 60% failure rate among vehicular tactical repeaters and a 78% failure rate for portable radios.

Other system performance problems were handoffs between vehicular repeaters and network towers, the capacity of the vehicular-repeater solution, the emergency-call function, intermittent failures of the caller-alias feature, and inconsistent voice quality when using Tyco Electronics gateways to bridge legacy LMR communications into the system.

But perhaps the most significant statistic noted was network downtime. During the July testing period, the network was down for 43 hours and 51 minutes, when the contract allows only 82 minutes of downtime per year.

M/A-COM has provided the state with its plan to address the remaining issues with the first phase of the network, but that plan is not being released publicly, company spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said. M/A-COM officials said several items cited by the state were addressed shortly after the July testing was completed. In his letter last month, Dougherty said M/A-COM still had to remedy a “few outstanding issues.”

19
“Significant deficiencies” cited by the state of New York that M/A-COM must remedy by Oct. 16.

CRUNCH TIME

July

State of New York tests the first phase of the statewide network, which was certified by Tyco Electronics M/A-COM as being ready.

Aug. 30

Citing 19 deficiencies noted in July testing, state declares Tyco Electronics M/A-COM to be in default of its contract.

Oct. 16

Deadline for M/A-COM to fix the first phase of the network, which will be subject to further testing.

Future

State will conduct a systems-integration test of the first phase of the network. If this test goes well, an operational test involving users will be conducted.

After reviewing an evaluation of testing by an independent verification firm, the state of New York is expected to decide whether to retain M/A-COM and proceed with deployment of the $2 billion network.
Source: New York Office for Technology