Small towns forego Project 25 Public safety agencies for some towns and cities with smaller populations are foregoing Project 25 interoperability because it is far more expensive than comparable alternatives.
Joe Beise, who works with the Wisconsin Public Service, said that he was concerned about the fact that Project 25-compliant technology was a great deal more expensive than other manufacturers’ similar, non-compliant systems featuring technological advances made since the Project 25 specifications were created.
“The state of Wisconsin, about a year ago, was going to the Ericsson system that wasn’t compliant, and it didn’t seem to bother them too much,” Beise said. He also said that foregoing Project 25 compliant systems was becoming more and more frequent, especially in the less populated areas of the country, causing Project 25 to become a non-standard.
Craig Jorgensen, Project 25 project manager, said that he was not alarmed by the situation.
“If we were two years down the road I would have some concerns. But given the fact that Project 25 is a new technology, and given the fact that smaller agencies need to meet their budget, I don’t think it’s too much of a concern,” he said.
Jorgensen also pointed out that this might change as the technology has been around longer.
“If you were looking two years down the road, and the standard had been out four years, then there would be some concern. But in a transition phase, you are going to see this kind of thing. I don’t think it’s that alarming,” he said. Beise suggested that part of the problem could be attributed to Motorola, because it seemed to have influenced the specifications to benefit itself. “Motorola has weighted the standard to have about 75% of a compliant system to be only available from Motorola. They do give their licensing to other manufacturers, allowing them to use their patent to build competing radios-up to a point. If you were going to build a million-dollar system, you’d probably have to spend $750,000 with Motorola,” he said, applying the digital radio standards, 12.5kHz bandwidth digital format, the Astro format.
“Project 25 might be able to find a home in places like Los Angeles, Denver and Houston-the big systems that are going to be multi-multi-million dollar systems. But a little sheriff’s department shouldn’t really care if their radio works in L.A. Should they pay $2,400 for a bulkier Project 25 radio rather than $800 for a very nice radio that fits their needs? What do they need itfor?” Biese said.
If a few counties in one state opt to forego Project 25 and interoperability, it becomes pointless for the surrounding counties to be compliant. There is no one to be interoperable within the direct vicinity.