County gets 6-month extension for 800MHz radios

CARL SHANKHistoric City News has learned from St Johns County Fire Rescue Chief Carl Shank, that the Federal Communications Commission has delayed a January 1 completion deadline until June 30, 2013 — allowing the county’s emergency service agencies ample time to convert from their current VHF radio system to UHF (800MHz).

The FCC informed county officials that their request for an extension of time met the “high standard” required to be granted such a waiver.

“In granting the deadline waiver, the FCC acknowledged the significant amount of time and resources we have dedicated to planning and executing the transition to a modernized intergovernmental radio system,” Shank told reporters. “Interoperable and reliable communications will greatly improve the capabilities and safety of all St Johns County emergency services providers to better serve our residents and visitors to this area.”

The FCC also granted similar waivers to all municipalities within the County.

St Johns County entered into a contract in December 2011 to purchase eleven radio towers and an 800 MHz intergovernmental radio system capable of supporting and providing interoperable communications between all public safety agencies and government services.

A county spokesman told Historic City News that they project to complete construction, installation, and testing of the new system, and then be operational within the first 90 days of 2013.