Future of UCAN?

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ryanisflyboy

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I've been reading documentation, meeting notes, and other information regarding the future of UCAN. Most notably the "Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan" (SCIP) laid out by the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee that Huntsman formed in 2007. This replaces the old interoperability committee you may be aware of that sort of watched over VECC/UCAN, etc. Let's call this "UCAN 2.0."

As many predicted here, the main challenges of the committee are in obtaining the many millions of dollars needed to enhance and operate the existing UCAN system. Most notably, their goals in reaching DHS initiatives to obtain grant money, etc. The Utah legislature has apparently not been too responsive, but the fed seems to have printed some funny money and is passing it out among sates. The last big push for that grant money happens this year, with several million up for capture by the state.

One of the improvements seem to be focusing around P25 for UCAN. Building out systems that will eventually be capable of supporting a digital infrastructure. The idea is that this would ease integration. Right now the regional interoperability - even among the federal government - seems to be a mix of great and terrible. The way things are being held together right now is via grant money. Without that grant money (which apparently goes away in 2011) rural agencies would be mostly unable to participate in UCAN. While SCIP does have P25 aspirations, they are likely a ways off as they try and find methods to pay for all the upgrades (911 fees, tax increases, etc), and keep the rural agencies plugged in.

Another thing that is coming up, but which I don't quite understand, is "narrow-band migration." It sounds like a current issue the interoperability committee is working on in earnest. It does not seem like it would impact the scanning community as deeply as P25 would, but I am not an expert.

I could find no information - anywhere - indicating a P25 en mass migration is in the works any time soon. Everything i saw was indicating they are still working on the technology foundation to support such a system. That work is being limited to the Wasatch front right now. it is also being hampered due to lack of funds.

Hopefully this helps put to rest any concerns from "Radio Shack Experts" telling people UCAN is going to push out digital next month. ;-) Someday? If they find the money. Next month? Nope.
 

ryanisflyboy

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I should add one important note...

Apparently there will be grant money beyond 2010, contingent on a few things. Future grant money will require P25. So, if Utah wants to keep getting interoperability dollars from the fed, they at least need a digital migration plan, and eventually they will actually need to be digital. Since grant money is a major funding source for UCAN, they are likely to want to capture more dollars by going digital.

This is going to cost tens of millions of dollars. And apparently they are in the process, right now, of trying to figure out how they are going to do this. So, it is an exciting time. The information is changing all the time.
 

milf

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Narrowband Migration refers to the 700 MHz, and the VHF Hi bands moving to narrowband operation. VHF Hi going to 12.5 K, and 700 MHz going to 6.25 K. All this is to be done by 2013. Later on down the road, VHF Hi is also to go to 6.25 K. And yes the push to go digital is being done. Even to the point of future FEMA, and USDHS grants being hinged on it. No Digital, No Grant. So yes the future of public safety radio telecommunications is P-25.
 
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