Crumbling emergency communication system upgraded

The manufacturer of the territory’s emergency communications system is out of business, and spare parts are dwindling.

The manufacturer of the territory’s emergency communications system is out of business, and spare parts are dwindling.

So the territory has signed a $10-million contract with a Texas-based company to replace the aging system.

“The system needs to be replaced before it fails,” said Phil Wintemute, manager of the territory’s telecom services.

“There’s no manufacturer support or enough spare parts.”

EF Johnson Technologies won a public tender to replace the mobile radio infrastructure and equipment, including portable radios, mobile units in vehicles and dispatch consoles.

All communities and the main transportation corridors across the Yukon will be covered by the new system.

The massive contract was not announced by the government. However, EF Johnson announced it through a release on its website.

Terms and conditions of related deals for long-term support and maintenance have yet to be hammered out.

Details of the all the deals, including the $10-million contract, will be revealed towards the end of July, said Wintemute.

“EF Johnson is a publicly traded company and has certain obligations so it made the announcement,” he said.

“I don’t want to be hypothesizing.”

Forty-three radio sites and all the equipment will be upgraded to Voice over internet Protocol, an internet-based communications system.

“It’s modern and much more reliable,” said Wintemute.

The upgrade is part of the territory’s commitment to Project 25, a set of North American standards established by the Association of Public Communications Officials.

Only three companies in North America have the capacity to outfit large communications systems with the required equipment.

A number of parties qualified for the contract, but EF Johnson was the best company, said Wintemute.

EF Johnson, based in Irving, Texas, is a wireless-communications company catering to emergency services, security companies and governments.

“Our conventional Project 25 infrastructure system has an excellent reputation,” Michael Jalbert, chairman and chief executive officer of EF Johnson Technologies Inc., said in a release.

“Using industry-standard Voice over internet Protocol technology, our Conventional IP25 system provides a secure, reliable and scalable infrastructure.”

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