$3.6 Million, 5-Tower Site To Improve First Responder Connectivity

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Watauga Emergency Services (Texas) personnel are continuing to work with the county on plans for a $3.6 million improved communication tower system, reported the Watauga Democrat. Currently, the county has difficulty with reliable communication in several places due to geography.

According to Emergency Services Director Will Holt and Marvin Hoffman, a contractor with the county, the project entails a five-site multi-channel communications system to improve emergency communications for first responders.

The $3.6 million figure that Hoffman estimated for the project would not include land acquisition costs or any alterations to the plan that may arise based on coverage, frequency licensing or other issues, Holt said. 

The county committed $1.6 million through its capital improvement plan with a request of an additional $250,000 for the 2019-20 fiscal year, he added.  

While conversations surrounding communications towers have been circulating for decades, a resurgence in the topic came in early 2017, reported the Watauga Democrat. Hoffman, who completed an emergency medical services use survey and communications needs assessment, noted, “One of the things that concerns me … the longer it goes on, the more it’s going to cost. I would like to see it move ahead.”

Emergency services are hoping radio communications will be a hybrid system. The two systems would include a North Carolina created system called VIPER — Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders — and the county’s current VHF system.

The county is presently in the land acquisition phase for several tower locations, Holt said.  Comments? Email Us.

March 6, 2019

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