The Michigan Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS), one of the nation’s largest P25 public safety communications systems, provides a secure framework for interoperable emergency communications for over 1,900 state, federal, tribal and local government agencies. Covering 59,415 square miles in all 83 counties in Michigan, the network includes more than 300 radio towers and serves more than 100,000 first responders.
The MPSCS is currently in the final phase of a Lifecycle Remediation Project that has spanned a five-year period. This major system overhaul includes upgrades for core switching equipment, site repeaters, power systems, IP/MPLS microwave backhaul network, dispatch consoles and recording equipment, mutual aid equipment, IP simulcast technology upgrades, and structural tower remediation.
BGA was hired by the State of Michigan in the early 1990s to provide project management, engineering, and quality assurance consulting services in the initial buildout of the MPSCS. Continuing our long-term relationship, the MPSCS partnered with BGA to provide a suite of consulting services to support the Lifecycle Remediation Project including project management, design validations, quality assurance, change management, CAD subsystem replacement, and cybersecurity and business operations policy development.
South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) has successfully completed the replacement of their existing analog LMR trunking system with a digital 900MHz P25 Phase II radio network. The replacement system consists of 65 radio sites, geographically redundant switching centers, and 35 dispatch console operator positions across 18 locations. The system provides service to 3,300 subscriber units including 15 participating electric cooperatives that share the system with Santee Cooper. RF coverage testing was completed with coverage meeting and exceeding the design criteria. All users have been successfully cutover to the new system and final system acceptance has been granted. Although the schedule was impacted by hurricanes in the Carolinas across two seasons, the project was completed within scope and under budget.
BGA was selected by Santee Cooper to provide project management and technical advisor services for specification development, acquisition support, and implementation oversight for this system replacement project. Previous consulting engagements included procurement of the legacy analog trunking system, the statewide microwave backbone, and FCC regulatory assistance for 900 MHz trunking licenses. BGA is proud to be a decades-long trusted partner with Santee Cooper.
The Tennessee Advanced Communications Network (TACN) is a 122 site, P25 Phase 2 wireless network that provides service for over 35,000 first responders in Tennessee including the Highway Patrol, Department of Correction, Department of Transportation, and multiple local government public safety agencies. By partnering with the Tennessee Valley Regional Communications System, the State accelerated the implementation of the network and immediately improved interoperability. BGA provided project management and technical advisor services to the State during the construction and transition. BGA also helped develop TACN’s long-range strategy and the current maintenance plan that optimizes vendor and State capabilities for on-going operations.
BGA also served as the advisor to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) during the initial planning phase for the National Public Safety Broadband Network, or FirstNet. Services included support for education and outreach across the state, collection and correlation of the data needed to define the State’s requirements, and analysis of the subsequent state plan including the modifications for performance improvements.
Today, BGA continues to provide strategic and technical support for TACN expansion, upgrades, and operational improvements. Current activities involve enhancements to incorporate remaining State agencies and expanding service to county and municipal governments, as well as replacement of the Highway Patrol’s computer aided dispatch system. In addition to support for the P25 network, BGA assists the State for the ongoing FirstNet deployment planning, including analysis of challenges for data sharing between the State’s public safety entities.
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.
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.
BGA is providing engineering services for the acquisition and implementation of the state’s voice communication network (P25 Phase 2) and a broadband data solution (LTE). These projects involve phased deployments that are scalable to available funding. The land mobile network recently completed successful acceptance testing.
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.
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 evaluation of the plan with key stakeholders. The statewide data network is envisioned to support streaming video, real-time GIS mapping, and large data elements. BGA continues to support the State during planning for transition of public safety users and applications, and the development of policies and agreements for data sharing between user agencies.
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.
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 a 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 six site, 20 channel simulcast network which utilizes a dual system overlay concept for a total of 40 simulcast channels. The system currently serves over 30,000 subscriber units including 60 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.