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Problems with digital trunked radio systems are not limited to P25 products sold by Motorola.   More than a decade ago, Lancaster County Pennsylvania officials saw presentations of a new statewide emergency radio system and were driven to sign a contract with M/A-Com for an OpenSky county-wide system.  The County commissioners voted in March 2008 to terminate its contract with M/A-Com for the OpenSky system after they concluded that it was unlikely that the radio system would meet minimum acceptable levels of performance and reliability. Lancaster County hopes to begin work on an alternative radio system soon.

The Lancaster County government spent more than $13.8 million on the OpenSky digital radio system, even though the system never progressed beyond the testing phase.

The State of New York canceled it’s $2 billion contract for OpenSky products earlier this year. Pennsylvania reports similar problems with its failed attempt to deploy an OpenSky digital trunked radio system.

The State of Pennsylvania still does not have its OpenSky system working as planned, 13 years after commencing work on the project.  The State Office of Public Safety reported in June that it has cost $368 million so far.

In December 2005, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)  contracted for one of the first OpenSky radio systems at an estimated cost of more than $6 million.  The system was intended to provide service over 900 square miles in the California counties of Sacramento and Placer, however it is not sufficiently reliable to handle routine radio traffic even though SMUD has already spent several million dollars.  SMUD has not accepted the OpenSky system and is still using its old analog trunked radio system.

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Lancaster Online article by Helen Colwell Adams,  07/12/2009

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