Yesterday, the Senate adopted a resolution calling on the Wolf Administration to take action on the Statewide Radio System, according to Senator Randy Vulakovich, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Originally created in 1996, the purpose of the Statewide Radio System, or StarNet, was to:
*Replace the state’s aging and incompatible systems with state-of-the art communications technology.
*Implement a statewide transport for mobile, hand-held, and fixed position radios that would support data applications in addition to voice communications.
*Provide mobile radio communication coverage of at least 95 percent by county, statewide.
*Create a framework for interoperable communication among state agencies, Regional Task Forces, and county 9-1-1 centers.
“Since its inception, StarNet has cost the Commonwealth nearly $700 million with several re-boots,” said Sen. Vulakovich. “And that’s on top of the hundreds of millions that our counties have to spend following or anticipating state action. Most recently, we have been waiting for the Administration to select a new vendor to transition the system from its current platform to a P25 public safety grade platform. Having spent 27 years in law enforcement, I know how imperative it is for our first responders to communicate in emergencies – and that is why it is has been discouraging to hear time after time how ineffective our system has been – whether it is coverage or interoperability issues.”
SR 325, sponsored by Senator Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) calls on the Administration to put forth an effective solution – a cost for the solution and a timetable for achieving it.
“The administration has the opportunity to implement a plan to create a unified radio system that works,” said Mensch. “Pennsylvania taxpayers have invested over $750 million dollars into STARNet and it remains unreliable often preventing our agents in the field from doing their job safely and effectively. We’ve gathered testimony and ideas on how to implement a new reliable system and it is imperative that we work towards a real solution now.”
Contact: Nate Silcox (717) 787-6538