NPSTC Reiterates Stance that Non-P25 Equipment Harms Interoperability (12/4/14)
Thursday, December 04, 2014 | Comments

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) released its second statement strongly urging public-safety and critical-infrastructure agencies to buy only Project 25 (P25) equipment for interoperability reasons. The council released a position paper on the topic in April.

NPSTC said agencies contemplating the purchase or use of LMR equipment should opt for P25 Phase 1 with 12.5 kilohertz conventional FDMA and/or analog modes for interoperability. Project 25 Phase 1 radios automatically receive both analog and P25.

“No other technological solution ensures direct compatibility,” said the Dec. 4 NPSTC statement. “While there are many other elements to consider in your quest to achieve a high level of interoperability, there can be no argument that compatible technology is paramount.”

NPSTC said it does not support the eligibility or use of federal grant funding to purchase incompatible technologies.

The statement cited The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Guide NG 0004 that said incident communications are facilitated through the development and use of common communications plans, interoperable communications equipment, processes, standards and architectures. For government to integrate its collective services and critical infrastructure agencies under unified command, all disciplines must adhere to the five recommended standards of NG 0004. One of those standards is National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1221, which specifies P25 equipment.

In October, the FCC released a 700 MHz Report and Order requiring P25 digital capability on all 700 MHz interoperability channels.

Some U.S. public-safety and critical-infrastructure agencies have opted for Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) and NXDN, two separate digital radio standards. In addition, TETRA systems can now be deployed in the United States.

NPSTC Executive Director Marilyn Ward said the council wants to keep the topic “in the forefront.”

For two differing viewpoints on the issue, see “Non-P25 Digital Technology Hurts Interoperability Efforts” and “Non-P25 Digital for Public Safety: Why Not?”

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