What are we doing?
The current FleetNet service and Sustainable Development’s VHF network are reaching end of life and a replacement service is required. The PSCS will meet P25 standards using 700 MHz spectrum that is designated for public safety. The VHF network will be replaced with a new VHF service provided by Bell. Manitoba has entered into an agreement with Bell to provide a new Public Safety Communications Service (PSCS).
When will PSCS be available for use?
Implementation of PSCS infrastructure, and transition of public safety and public service users to the new service, will take up to three years. The service is expected to be in full production by June 2021.
How will Public Safety Entities (PSEs) know when PSCS will be available for their use?
A transition plan is in place to ensure Manitoba Government Departments know what their responsibilities are and when they will be transitioned from FleetNet services and the VHF network to PSCS.
What does PSCS offer subscribers?
The service is based on a public safety grade P25 network that is specifically designed and operated for the public safety and public service community in Manitoba. PSCS will provide reliable voice communications to support public safety and public service activities and to help coordinate services during emergencies (e.g. fire, flood). PSCS will enhance interoperability, coverage, security and reliability to more effectively respond to emergencies in an efficient and coordinated manner.
What are some benefits of PSCS?
- Expanded coverage
- Geographically redundant core for high availability
- Enhanced core and tower site security
- Higher level of encryption – managed by the RCMP
- Radio spectrum reserved for public safety and public service entities
- Standard Operating Procedures
- Centralized Contract Management
- Governance model with business, technical and service assurance committees
- Services Level Agreements and penalties
- System reporting
- Training and training materials
- Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning
What is P25 technology?
Project 25 (P25) is the standard for the design and manufacturing of interoperable digital two-way wireless communication products. Developed in North America with provincial/state, local and federal representatives and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) governance, P25 has gained worldwide acceptance for public safety, security and public service applications.
The published P25 standards suite is administered by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Radio equipment that demonstrates compliance with P25 is able to meet a set of minimum requirements to fit the needs of public safety. The P25 standard was created by, and is intended for, public safety professionals.
What is a Public Safety radio system?
A Public Safety radio system is one that is specifically designed and operated for the public safety community. Systems are constructed to address the demanding requirements of public safety communications such as coverage, interoperability, enhanced security and reliability.
Who owns the PSCS?
The infrastructure and equipment are owned and maintained by Bell. All handheld, base and vehicle radios will continue to be purchased and owned by Government Departments.
Will PSCS be centrally managed on behalf of Government Departments?
Yes. Manitoba will be responsible for contract management of the Master Services Agreement with Bell. Management of PSCS will include establishing various governance committees that provide direction on issues of reliability, functionality, dispute resolution, system serviceability and service level accountability.
Who will be the users of PSCS?
PSCS may include a broad range of Government and Non-Government agencies, all of which contribute to public safety for Manitobans.
Do Manitoba departments qualify as a user of PSCS?
In order to qualify for PSCS, each PSE must first meet the requirements set by Industry, Science and Economic Development (ISED) in SRSP-511.
- Category 1 users (police, fire, and emergency medical services) permitted to use the 700 MHz radio service on the PSCS System.
- Category 2 users (forestry, public works, public transit, hazardous material clean-up, border protection and other agencies contributing to public safety).
- Category 3 users (other government agencies and certain non-government agencies) may be permitted to access to the PSCS System during emergency situations where their access is controlled by a Category 1 user.
Do Manitoba departments have to sign an agreement for PSCS?
No. All Manitoba departments are included in the Master Services Agreement between Bell and Manitoba.
What is the cost of PSCS subscriber fees?
There will be no PSCS Subscriber fees which is expected to take effect in Q2 of 2021. The user fees for the current FleetNet system will continue until the new PSCS is fully implemented in Q2 of 2021.
Who oversees the transition to new services for Manitoba departments?
The PSCS Project team oversees the transition to new services with the departments and Bell. Radio Services will be consulted when the need arises.
Will Radio Services processes change with PSCS (i.e. portable, base, mobile check/repairs, removal/installs)?
Yes. VEMA can undertake the following work once the PSE has transitioned to the PSCS.
- Removal and/or installation of radios
- Repair and align radios after radio warranty has expired
- Replace portable/mobile/base accessories after radio warranty has expired such as battery, antenna, case, charger, remote speaker mic, and power supply
- Non-warranty repairs for radios and accessories such as broken antenna and remote speaker mic, missing knob, and water damaged radio
Will Manitoba departments receive new radios as part of the FleetNet Replacement Project?
Yes. All departments including Sustainable Development VHF users will be provided new radios and associated radio accessories as part of a one time purchase as per the agreement signed between Manitoba and Bell. Thereafter departments will be responsible to pay any replacement or maintenance costs on the radios issued to that department. This would be managed within the department’s existing processes and budgets.
Did the radios that will be purchased from Bell for the FleetNet Replacement Project go through a procurement process?
Yes. The radios were part of the procurement process for new services.
Can I purchase radios from other vendors aside from Bell?
Yes. The one-time purchase of radios from Bell under the PSCS project is now complete. As VEMA Radio Services currently holds a Standing Offer for the approved list of PSCS Motorola radios, any additional radios required may be purchased through VEMA.
What will happen to the old radios?
The radios being replaced will be returned to Radio Services to be removed from inventory and arranged for proper disposal.
What is the process if my department needs a replacement radio now?
Please proceed as per normal procedures and order through Radio Services. Radio Services can advise on the different radio models that would meet the department and PSCS requirements.
Is the Manitoba Justice (Corrections) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) network used in correctional facilities included as part of PSCS?
No. The Justice UHF network was not included in the scope of the FleetNet Replacement Project. However, existing FleetNet radios used by Justice are included.
Will there be training available on the features of PSCS?
Yes. Training Coordinators were identified to work with the Bell transition team and ensure the training is scheduled to coincide with the transition schedule for the PSE. The training will focus on the use of the new PSCS and different radio model operation. Bell will be utilizing a train-the-trainer model to deliver the training.
Is Motorola radio the only radio authorized for using PSCS today?
Yes. Bell has a list of Motorola radios approved for PSCS network. These radios have been specifically engineered for the authorized use on the PSCS network. All radio of other makes and models would need to be authorized by Manitoba for using PSCS, and would require additional programming and set up of which the costs are at the expense of the PSE.
What is the warranty coverage for Motorola radios and accessories?
The warranty on equipment follows the one (1) year manufacturer’s warranty
What happens if there are issues with the newly issued/purchased radios and accessories (e.g. batteries, chargers, cases)?
Departments should call Bell’s Service Desk for warranty repairs or replacement of radios and accessories except for batteries. Regarding issues with radio batteries, please follow the IMPRES Battery Care Guidelines first to see if the battery issues can be resolved. If battery problem persists, please call Bell Service Desk.
Who pays shipping cost for the radios/accessories to be repaired or replaced?
The department pays the cost for shipping to repair depot; Bell pays the cost for shipping back to the department.
Will there be spare radios available for departments?
If there are any surplus radios from the one-time purchase that are “unassigned”, such unassigned surplus radios will be collected by Bell at the end of the transition and will be re-assigned to department(s) as spares.
Is there a radio cache available to be used during emergency or special public service events?
Yes. Please see the SOP for the deployment of Radio Cache. The prioritization criteria for radio cache deployment is as follows:
1st. Public safety events (e.g. natural disasters)
2nd. Restoration of service (e.g. loss of repeater)
3rd. Proactive deployment (e.g. large entertainment festival)
What are the work to be done “exclusively” by Bell or Bell authorized service partners?
- Radios for repair under warranty
- Radio programming/re-programming
- Dispatch Console service/maintenance
- Service and repair of other radio equipment before and after warranty has expired such as teleremote, BDA or in-building solution
- Service and repair of Repeaters
- Service and repair of P25 & VHF Towers
- Generation of codeplugs and serialized codeplugs
- Key Management
If I have further questions who do I contact?
For further information please send your request to PSCSSupport@gov.mb.ca