The state of New York today announced an indefinite delay in testing the first phase of the statewide wireless network (SWN) built by Tyco Electronics M/A-COM, leaving the status of the much-scrutinized $2 billion project in limbo.

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 21, the state’s Office for Technology (OFT) conducted a systems integration test of the network’s first phase, located in Erie County and Chautauqua County. If the results of that test were deemed favorable, the state had scheduled an operational test involving public safety beginning Wednesday and concluding on Dec. 18.

But the operational test has been delayed to allow OFT staff and Federal Engineering—the firm hired by the state to provide independent validation and verification services—to “thoroughly evaluate” the results of the November test, OFT spokeswoman Angela Liotta said today during an interview with Urgent Communications.

Liotta said the state is not certain how lengthy the delay would be.

“I can’t give you a timetable now,” she said.

Liotta said the delay was made without prejudice regarding the results. In addition, Liotta declined to speculate whether a delay of a few days would jeopardize conducting an operational test—assuming one is needed, as a negative review of the November test would mean no such test would be conducted—before the end of the year.

An official for Tyco Electronics M/A-COM declined to comment on the matter.

On Aug. 29, New York CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart wrote a letter declaring Tyco Electronics M/A-COM in default of its contract to build the statewide network, noting that July tests in the first buildout area demonstrated the system performance to be “unsatisfactory and unacceptable.” The letter noted 19 “significant deficiencies,” and Tyco Electronics was given a deadline of Oct. 16 to rectify these problems.

Tyco Electronics M/A-COM declared the network ready for testing by the Oct. 16 deadline. However, of the 19 items cited as deficiencies, company officials said technical fixes were made on just 12 of them. Regarding the other seven items, the company did not make any technical changes, because the vendor is disputing those items for various reasons, M/A-COM spokeswoman Victoria Dillon has said.

If the state does not accept the first phase of the SWN network, it has the right to nix the $2 billion contract and not pay any money to Tyco Electronics M/A-COM, which already has spent more than $50 million on the project and has secured a $100 million performance bond.