Just a follow up to what Station 32 said, The Mercer County Radio Interoperability Project Committee had a meeting this past Friday (12/16/11) and discussed the new system. The target launch date is January 1, 2013. All municipalities are welcomed to join the network, however it is not required. Patches will be set up for users as they move over. Police, Fire, and EMS along with county and municipal departments will be on the system. However, agencies will continue to maintain their own communications centers. PDs will still have their own dispatchers and Mercer Central and Lifecomm will remain where they are at. (Side note, I did hear a rumor the other day that said Lifecomm is looking at moving off of Prospect Street to a new location.)
Paging for Fire and EMS will remain on the VHF frequencies as they are now. EMS will still be required to have VHF radios in their rigs due to DOH requirements. At the meeting it was unknown if EMS operations would be moved to the trunk system or stay on the VHF Lifecomm Ops. The meeting was mainly about the time frame and how users can purchase equipment.
Speaking of VHF, the county also filed a petition with the FCC to defer the narrow banding requirement. I didn't catch for how long. This will help users purchase the new UHF digital radios and not have to worry about upgrading or purchasing narrow band complaint radios in the meantime before the system is operational. This also will help with paging.
That's all I have for now, I'll post more when I hear it. So far no talk of how the talk groups will be set up.