Miami-Dade County recently announced it has selected Harris to upgrade its aging analog trunking system to a new digital Project 25 (P25) network. The $100 million system will be funded largely by money from Sprint Nextel as part of 800 MHz rebanding.

“At the end of the day, they’re walking away with a brand-new system at very little cost to the taxpayers,” said Fred Gallart, East area director for Harris public safety and professional communications.

Currently, Miami-Dade County operates two EDACS analog trunking systems — one for public safety and one for public works — that use the same 800 MHz spectrum and infrastructure. The system also interoperates with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s conventional UHF system.

“Our current EDACS system has served us well for more than 18 years, but the FCC mandate and the trend toward P25 standard equipment has led us to upgrade and modernize our radio-communications infrastructure,” Felix Perez, radio division director for Miami-Dade County’s enterprise technology services department, said in prepared statement. “Harris is the ideal partner for this project, because its solution ensures a seamless transition with minimal downtime.”

The new Harris P25 system will maintain this functionality, will operate in parallel with the county’s EDACS system and allow users to access a 700 MHz P25 network overlay, Gallart said.

“We have to provide a portable and mobile that will not only do EDACS at 800 MHz, it also has to be able to do 700 MHz P25 and 800 MHz P25, because Miami-Dade at the end of the day, will have two 800 MHz systems operating on P25 and an overlay network of P25 at 700 MHz,” he said. “The beauty is that, with one terminal, they will be able to communicate on all of those platforms.”

Although the new P25 system is designed to leverage the shelters, towers and generators of the existing EDACS system, Gallart said some new site work also will be required. Overall, the project is expected to be completed in 2014 — at a fraction of the cost to the county, thanks to the rebanding funds from Sprint Nextel, he said.

“You have to touch all of those radios one time [for rebanding]. Why not do it when you’re doing the upgrade?” Gallart said. “Miami-Dade saved a significant amount of money by doing the upgrade now versus doing it at a later time.”