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State of Alaska, Department of Defense, and Industry
Launch Land Mobile Radio System


September 24, 2003
Wednesday - 1:15 am

The Alaska Land Mobile Radio (ALMR) Executive Council announced completion of the concept demonstration phase of a new statewide shared public-safety communications system. The ALMR system is the first shared Federal, State and local public safety, digital wireless communications system in the United States.

"This is cutting edge stuff," said ALMR Project Manager, Jack Phelps. "The ALMR system uses the APCO Project 25 protocols for trunked integrated voice and data, interoperable radio communications. By using the P25 standard and teaming up with the Department of Defense to build a statewide infrastructure, we are setting a benchmark for the rest of the country to follow. Moreover, our partnership with the DoD is a significant feature of this project." Phelps said.

"This is an unprecedented working relationship between federal, state and local governments to improve interoperability, increase the safety and security of first responders, and save money through a cost-sharing approach," said Tim Woodall, ALMR deputy project manager.

The project uses the State's installed base of microwave sites with the addition of Project 25 compliant infrastructure provided through Motorola's Project 25 ASTROä technology. ALMR provides a single, shared infrastructure for routine radio traffic within each participating agency and for multi-agency secure interoperable communications during emergency situations, such as natural and man-made disasters. The concept was tested during a joint federal, state and local government Homeland Security Exercise in Valdez in March, 2003. The Department of Justice provided 300 Motorola XTS 5000ä portable radios for use during the exercise. "The system performed flawlessly during the Northern Edge exercise, providing the needed on demand, real time secure interoperable communications required by first responders," Woodall said.

In addition to completing its demonstration phase, ALMR recently received a significant boost when the Federal Communications Commission approved a frequency waiver that allows the ALMR system to share frequencies normally reserved for exclusive use by DoD and State public safety agencies. "Never before has the FCC allowed this level of cross-sharing of the radio spectrum," according to Phelps.

Project 25 provides a user-defined standard that supports the public safety community through proven interoperability and by allowing multiple vendor choices. The Alaska Land Mobile Radio project team is proactively reaching out to radio manufacturers to bring Project 25 VHF digital trunking products to the market. Two of these manufacturers, Motorola and EFJohnson, have demonstrated their portable and mobile radios on the ALMR ASTRO 25TM infrastructure. Others are expected to do so within the next year.

"The successful demonstration of multiple vendors' P25 subscriber equipment validates our standards-based approach, promotes competition among suppliers and provides us with one of the key tools for meeting our goal of first responder interoperability, safety and security," Phelps said.


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
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