BayRICS JPA Approves Motorola Contract, Funding Plan for BayWEB (1/20/12)
Friday, January 20, 2012 | Comments

By Sandra Wendelken
The Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications System (BayRICS) Joint Powers Authority (JPA) approved a 10-year build, operate, own and maintain (BOOM) agreement with Motorola Solutions to build a 700 MHz public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Of the 13 BayRICS board members, 10 voted to adopt the agreement, two voted against — San Jose and Santa Clara County — and one abstained — Oakland — said Barry Fraser, BayRICS JPA general manager.

Officials from Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose previously released recommendations to vote no on the project.

“I am pleased that so many entities have chosen to participate in this exciting project and that the JPA members who voted yes listened to their police officers in the field who overwhelmingly support this project,” said Gary Delagnes, president, San Francisco Police Officers’ Association. “BayWEB will help make our officers safer and provide communications that will help us to be more responsive and efficient as we respond to and investigate crimes.”

The Motorola agreement, when executed, will be a step toward realizing the Bay Area Wireless Enhanced Broadband (BayWEB) project, a broadband mission-critical network funded in part by a $50.6 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). BayWEB will be a public/private partnership between BayRICS, regional public-safety agencies and Motorola. In addition to the grant, Motorola is providing $21.9 million in matching funds. The vendor also agreed to pay additional costs for radio access network (RAN) site remediation, bringing the total project cost to about $97 million.

The BayRICS JPA also approved the systems funding plan. The final day on which members can withdraw from the authority pursuant to the JPA agreement is April 19. The agreements are structured so that no member is required to withdraw; a member can remain and simply not participate in the project, Fraser said.

The next step is to finalize the radio sites that will be used in the project. This requires a separate agreement between each site-owning agency and Motorola to access and use the sites. “We have about 50 percent of these site agreements in place, with several more expected to be approved by the end of January,” Fraser said. “Motorola officials indicated that they must have a final site list by Feb. 10. I believe most, if not all, jurisdictions will meet that deadline. At that point, Motorola can begin ordering equipment and preparing the sites for installation.”

The BayWEB project will support more than 100 sites across the Bay Area. Under the systems funding plan, Motorola agreed to pay site remediation costs up to a $24 million ceiling throughout the Broadband Technology Opportunities Project (BTOP) grant period of August 2013. This is anticipated to cover all costs of site remediation. If new sites are desired after May 31, 2012, the authority may be required to pay remediation for those sites.

At the end of the 10-year term, Motorola will transfer the system to the JPA at no cost to the authority, according to the funding plan. Therefore, costs of operating and maintaining the system will not be incurred until year 10.

The network will ensure LTE-based communications interoperate fully with the existing Project 25 (P25) networks used in the various participating counties in the Bay Area, a Motorola statement said.

“Today’s overwhelming approval of the project by the BayRICS JPA demonstrates both the need for this system for public safety and also the strong resolve of our visionary public safety and political leaders throughout the Bay Area,” said Steve Falk, president, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Inspector General outlined concerns regarding the August 2010 BTOP award to Motorola for the system.

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