Sometime in 2025, less than 5 years from now, North Carolina will have completed Phase 2 of the VIPER system (Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders).
The achievement of this phase takes the state’s emergency communications network to TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) capabilities, meaning each channel can support two separate talk paths for unique voice radio conversation without needing additional base stations.
This improved communication is great news for emergency responders who depend on instant, reliable communication with other responders at the scene of an emergency, but it does come with a cost. Equipment that is currently more than five years old may or may not be able to upgrade and transition to Phase 2. Radios that have been purchased within the past five years should be able to be upgraded, but the cost of upgrading the older technology is oftentimes more than the cost of purchasing new equipment that sports new robust features and high-quality enclosures.
“It’s really a double-edged sword for our customers,” says Walt Hicks, Account Manager for 2-Way Radio sales at RCS Wireless Technology. “We’re excited to have this enhanced capability, but it means many subscribers will be looking at having to purchase new radios in order to communicate.”
Good News for New Equipment
For many years, many emergency responders have relied on Motorola equipment for communication needs. The good news as we head into Phase 2 is there are many more approved vendors, giving customers a variety of options when it comes to purchasing radios. The current list of approved vendors includes: