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Cities Sign Up For ‘NextGen’ Regional Communication System

Aired 2/3/14 on KPBS News.

San Diego County is gathering support for the purchase of a new regional communication system that will ultimately cost more than $100 million.

Changing technology means San Diego County’s current Regional Communication System, (RCS) relied on by public safety agencies, will soon be obsolete.

The estimated $105-million price tag of the NextGen RCS will be shared between about 40 agencies, including fire, police, public transit agencies and cities.

Sue Willy of the Sherriff’s department said the current radios used by public safety agencies were new back in the 1990s.

“And the system is no longer supported by the manufactures,” she said, “so parts are not available, the software is no longer supported. So there’s a limited amount of time we can continue to operate on the system. “

She compared it to operating an old car… at some point it becomes necessary to pony up the money for a new one.

The city of San Marcos has agreed to contribute more than $2.5 million to buy more than 400 of the new radios. Vista has committed $1.75 million for 285 radios.

Cities have till the end of March to sign up. The city of San Diego has its own communication system that is interoperable with the county's.

The county plans to award the lucrative contract next year, but the new system is not projected to be ready to go till 2018.

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Avatar for user 'edwardtlp'

edwardtlp | February 3, 2014 at 9:04 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

What happened to the money the voters approved back in the mid-1990's? We taxpayers paid for a new, state of the art, "universal" communications system that would link together all the different public service agencies, from the lifeguards to the sheriff to the local police and fire departments...why wasn't that system maintained? Why, after the taxpayers fork over the money to get everything up to date, why don't the agencies keep it up to date?

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | February 3, 2014 at 1:03 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

The same question could be asked of infrastructure in general. Why do we continue to purchase items we then choose to not maintain. Radios become obsolete anyway, but how are our bridges doing?

I would be interested to see what the expected lifetime of the replacement system is and then see if it manages to attain it.

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