Countywide Radio Communications Project

"The purpose of the study is to determine the most economical, efficient, reliable and state-of-the-art method for designing and provisioning new countywide radio communications systems used by local government entities to meet the long term voice communications, paging, and voice interoperability needs of the emergency and non-emergency agencies serving residents, workers, and visitors of Orange County."

November 2022 Update

Motorola Inc has been contracted to survey public safety radio coverage in schools in Orange County, including Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Once the surveys are complete, equipment can be installed as needed to ensure First Responders have radio coverage in the school buildings.

March 2021 Update

The County is now investigating the costs and benefits of partnering with the State to enhance the current VIPER System and VHF paging infrastructure. This partnership may result in lower engineering and construction costs than are currently projected.

The County has engaged with the State’s radio system engineer of record to develop a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimate based on the information obtained from the previously completed radio system study. The County will continue to engage with system engineers to start qualifying sites, obtain additional information, and narrow the scope to create a refined cost estimate.

August 2018 Update

Federal Engineering has received need data/statistics regarding traffic on the VIPER system and is working on building lists of required equipment to upgrade the VIPER system and enhance paging coverage in Orange County.

October 2017 Update

Beginning in October of 2017, Federal Engineering began working on the VIPER enhancement alternative.

May 2017 Update

Federal Engineering and the Radio Project Committee made a presentation to the Board of County Commissioners summarizing the project to this point and giving an overview of the path forward recommended by the committee to improve public safety radio service in Orange County. The agenda item and slides from the presentation are linked above.

Following the presentation, and in the interest of due diligence, Orange County decided to have Federal Engineering study how the VIPER system might be expanded and enhanced instead of replaced, and to determine if the needs of the County's public safety agencies can be satisfied in this way.

January 2017 Status Call Notes

December 2016 Update

Federal Engineering conducted a Workshop at Emergency Services which was attended by representatives of various emergency responder agencies on December 22. The workshop's purpose was to examine how the different types of systems might result in different coverage levels, how that coverage compares to the current coverage on the VIPER network, and how different setups of tower sites, varying heights, locations, frequency and antenna design, affect that coverage.

The results of that workshop will be used to inform cost modeling by Federal Engineering, and also give an idea of what a phase roll-out of any new radio infrastructure would look like, and how radio coverage would change as the system were rolled out.

November 2016 Updates

Orange County has selected Federal Engineering as the consultant conducting this study. Federal Engineering is working with a committee made up of representatives from all Public Safety Disciplines in Orange County.

Federal Engineering met with Public Safety and other Gov. Agencies from across the county to gather information both on how they use their radios, how well the current system meets their needs, and what they need a radio system to do in the future.