Guilford County and the City of Greensboro are ready to extend a very longstanding maintenance and enhancement agreement for the 800 MHz radio system used by both city and county emergency responders. 

On Thursday, July 15, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a new contract meant to help keep the emergency radio system well maintained and up to date.

An agreement between the two local governments regarding the system has been in effect since 1999, and the two share the costs of operating and improving the complex radio network.  According to the new interlocal agreement that extends the old one, the current 800 MHz system is “facing technical obsolescence of components” and it needs “technology enhancements not supported by current infrastructure.”  

Public safety radio systems – such as those used by law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical staff – operate within several sections of the 800 MHz band.  The city and county’s system has been undergoing a major upgrade for years to improve reliability and more features and implement up to date technology. Greensboro and Guilford County have committed capital funds to a seven-year improvement process to upgrade the existing radio system.

The new agreement states that the city and county “mutually desire to assure that the radio infrastructure is maintained in a high state of readiness and on current technology platforms.”

Greensboro has been in negotiations with Motorola for maintenance of the 800 MHz system, and the city recently finalized a renewal for a term of two years with the company.  Under this new agreement with Guilford County, the county will pay for 50 percent of the system’s maintenance in fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.

As with the previous interlocal agreements controlling the system, Greensboro serves as the primary maintenance contractor and has the responsibility for the negotiation of maintenance agreements with Motorola as well as with Motorola’s subcontractors.

For the two-year term of the contract, the county’s amount is not to exceed $2.8 million – with the county paying $1,369,808 in the first year of the new agreement and paying $1,410,902 in the second.