Source: NorthFulton.com

It's needed
June 29, 2014 | 09:17 PM

I don't have a dog in the fight. But many comments I have read are based on misinformation, emotion and conjecture.

No one likes a huge tower. That's a given. If this were for a cellular company, I would tell them to find an alternative.

This is for public safety land mobile radio. A police officer or firefighter depends on their radio as a lifeline. Simply put IT HAS TO WORK regardless of rain, sleet, snow, fire, flood, terrorism, etc. Land Mobile radio systems are reliable, cost effective and long running at that.

The current system used by JCPD, JCFD and Rural Metro was installed in 1991. You heard right. 1991. That was close to 25 years ago. It is owned by Fulton county and agencies lease the use of talkgroups on it so they don't have to procure their own system, which cost millions of tax dollars.

The current system has served the county and the north Fulton cities well considering the age and technology used. However every day it is becoming more and more unreliable. It was designed for a different era and for MOBILE coverage. Replacement parts are no longer available from the vendor as is support.

Designing a replacement LMR system to cover an area like North Fulton with challenging terrain means either adding multiple smaller sites or fewer larger sites.

Guess which one costs more all around: more sites. Guess which one means more to maintain in the long run. Johns Creek is joining with other cities to build out a new system that they will be a stakeholder in, and to do this right means selecting key sites for optimum overall coverage, and keeping cost as low as possible.

A 400 foot tower is not that excessive considering the terrain and coverage to be obtained, and we are talking PORTABLE radio coverage. This makes it possible for PD, Fire and EMS workers to have reliable in-building coverage where they don't have any now. They NEED a reliable system core that doesn't go into "FAILSOFT" when they are doing their jobs, they do not have that now.

This is needed to keep your public safety workers safe. They don't have it now and prolonging the inevitable is only doing them a disservice. When your home or business is on fire, you want your firefighters to have solid coverage on the fireground. When you police are on a dangerous traffic stop or pursuing suspects, you want their calls for backup to be heard. When an EMT is in your home calling to his crew for a stretcher, you want that call to go out.

Tower sites and connected infrastructure make that possible. Physics of RF propagation and RF attenuation dictate the size and scope of the sites needed.

Erik Bagby
Smyrna, GA