Communications Technology

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Your communications and information technology systems are critical to the operation of your agency or enterprise. You need reliable communications systems that support law enforcement, fire & emergency services, and critical infrastructure industries during routine and emergency conditions. BGA has led the successful planning, procurement, and implementation of numerous complex systems. Our extensive experience, successful track record, and reputation as an independent consulting and engineering firm distinguish us with both clients and vendors.

Areas of Expertise

  • Public Safety Communications Networks
  • Utility and Smart Grid Communications
  • Broadband/LTE Planning
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Governance
  • Computer Aided Dispatch/E9-1-1
  • Engineering and Project Management Services

During the past 45 years BGA has become specialists in the procurement and implementation of statewide and regional wireless voice and data systems and developed many of the best practices used in the industry. Our applied program management practices and experience allows us to specifically align technology with operating requirements. BGA’s integrated team of engineers, business analysts, and regulatory specialists employ systematic and disciplined approaches which result in objective and effective solutions for our clients. Innovative programs successfully completed for government entities and utilities attest to our qualifications and expertise.

No matter what your communications and information technology needs may be, BGA’s multi-disciplined team can identify practical alternatives and implement a successful solution. We are Applied Program Managers – putting theory into practice.

Michael E. Corbett, P.E.

Principal
Manager of Communications

Mike.Corbett@BGAinc.com

PROJECT TYPES:

BGA was retained by the City of Fort Worth to provide a public safety wireless communications master plan for the City and surrounding region which resulted in P25 upgrade contract with the city’s technology vendor.

BGA subsequently served as the quality assurance monitor and engineering advisor for the system implementation. The network consists of a 6 site, 20 channel simulcast network which utilizes a dual system overlay concept for a total of 40 simulcast channels. The system currently serves over 9,000 subscriber units including 16 external public safety agencies. While providing the required capacity for existing Police, Fire, and Emergency Management personnel, the network was sized to support anticipated growth through 2029 as well as expanded coverage and direct interoperability with several local interoperability partners.

The RWC system design consisted of a primary urban area simulcast network which utilized a dual system overlay concept for law enforcement and fire services. Expanded service areas included additional simulcast zones with routing capability to support regional communications. BGA consultants provided quality assurance and project management services for the implementation of a wireless communications network (P25) serving the region’s fire, police, and municipal departments. We also assisted with the formation of the region’s governance model, transition plans, and operating policies. The RWC system is now operational with over 15,000 users.

Entergy is an integrated multi-state utility company, headquartered in New Orleans and provides electric service to approximately 2.6 million customers. Needing a system-wide upgrade to replace antiquated equipment and meet anticipated future demands, Entergy asked BGA to assist in RFP development and proposal evaluations for the system replacement. This process resulted in an upgrade contract which consisted of equipment at 173 remote sites spanning four states. BGA was pleased to be part of the team responsible for RFP preparation and Entergy’s multi-vendor evaluation and selection process.

The State of Michigan is moving forward with the replacement of a 20-year-old statewide network that includes upgrades for 245 radio tower sites and 74,500 radio users. The MPSCS serves over 1,500 local, state, federal, tribal and private public-safety agencies, including the Michigan State Police and the departments of Natural Resources and Transportation. The system also provides border interoperability with Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. MPSCS is one of the largest trunked communications systems in the world.

The five-year project will refresh system infrastructure including repeaters, power systems, microwave radios, and dispatch consoles. The upgrade includes an MPLS backhaul network that adds IP based capabilities for better coordination with 9-1-1 and emergency services IP networks.

BGA is assisting the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget by providing project management and technical support services for the system-wide upgrade. As the State’s IV&V consultant, BGA is responsible to ensure that the vendor meets the State’s requirements and quality standards.

BGA was engaged by the State of Mississippi through the Mississippi Department of Transportation to help acquire and implement a statewide mobile radio communications system. A detailed and comprehensive RFP was coupled with an acquisition strategy that led to a phased statewide project scalable to available funding. As a result the state executed a contract for a P25, 700 MHz trunked radio system comprised of 135 remote radio sites, 14 major dispatch locations, and a loop protected, route redundant digital microwave transport network. The network was completed and fully operational in 2014 and now supports over 22,000 radio subscribers.

South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) is moving forward with plans to replace their existing LMR system with a 900MHz P25 Phase II radio network. The replacement system consists of 65 radio sites, geographically redundant switching centers, and thirty-eight dispatch console operator positions. The system provides service to 3,300 subscriber units including fifteen participating electric cooperatives that share the system with Santee Cooper.

BGA was selected by Santee Cooper to provide project management and technical advisor services for specification development, acquisition support, and implementation oversight for the replacement project.

BGA is also providing management consulting services to the State of Arkansas for SLIGP planning. Under a contract with the Department of Information System, BGA worked with Department of Emergency Management and the Arkansas Interoperability Communications Committee to develop the APSBN Strategic Plan, Stakeholder Management Plan, and the Education and Outreach Plan. BGA continues to support the state’s staff during E&O activities by providing updates on all program related activities.

The Arkansas Department of Information Systems contracted with BGA to provide strategic planning for the development of a wireless communications plan for 16 state agencies. The resulting plan provided a recommendation to leverage existing state assets in the deployment of a statewide system. The plan was endorsed by the Governor and resulted in a vendor contract for a system upgrade from a proprietary analog 800 MHz system to a P25, 700/800 MHz digital trunking system with over 102 sites and now over 18,000 state, county, and federal subscribers. BGA continues to provide technical and project management support as requested for system expansion and upgrades.

In 2010, the State of Mississippi was one of seven government entities nationwide awarded a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to support development of a public safety broadband system. The Mississippi BTOP project initially required conversion and expansion of the existing microwave system to an IP based, high capacity MPLS network. An LTE switch core was installed with radio access stations to complete the network. BGA developed the LTE public safety system Request for Proposal (RFP) document that tailored State procurement guidelines with NTIA BTOP technical requirements. The RFP defined specific criteria for coverage and capacity for network traffic. Part of the plan involved a public private partnership between the State, the chosen LTE technology vendor, and a regional cellular service to provide LTE devices the ability to roam to and from the State’s private LTE network onto the regional carrier network.

BGA is currently providing management consulting services to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security for the national broadband State & Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP). As part of the planning process for the National Public Safety Broadband Network, BGA worked with state staff to develop the initial education and outreach plan and supported the state during execution of the plan for key stakeholders. The statewide data network is envisioned to support streaming video, real-time GIS mapping, and large data elements. Upon completion, TN-CNECT will provide a secure, reliable, and dedicated interoperable network for emergency responders to coordinate emergency response activities directly between public safety providers within the local, state and national levels. BGA continues to prepare the State for evaluation of state plans and development of strategies for system implementation.

The State of Tennessee completed construction of the new Tennessee Advanced Communications Network (TACN) and the Highway Patrol is now fully operational in all districts. TACN is a P25 standards based radio network that leveraged two existing systems (Tennessee Valley Regional System and the TN Department of Correction Radio System) which accelerated the implementation and saved considerable taxpayer money. BGA provided project management support and engineering advisor services to the state’s General Services Department which had project oversight for TACN. Additional services included development of a long-range strategic plan and an on-going operations and maintenance plan that combines vendor and state capabilities.