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The New York State Office for Technology issued a letter of default to a unit of Tyco Electronics on Friday over a $2 billion contract to build an emergency communications network, giving the company’s M/A-COM Inc 45 days to fix “significant” problems, reports Reuters.
Tyco Electronics said it was disappointed in the move and has been cooperating with the state to resolve a “few” remaining issues.
“Contrary to public allegations … Tyco Electronics has met or exceeded contractual requirements for the project and is prepared to vigorously defend that position,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.
The default letter, which comes amid a state budget crunch, follows a recommendation last week by the New York State comptroller to stop the 20-year contract because the already delayed system was rife with problems.
New York State’s biggest-ever technology contract, awarded to the Tyco’s M/A-COM unit in 2005, is a year-and-a-half behind schedule and has suffered from technology problems, according to the office of the comptroller (See Dailywireless: NY State’s Public Service Net: Failure?).
The system was intended to ease communication among emergency responders such as firefighters and police, and was prompted by the failure of wireless emergency communications systems after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In its default letter, the state cited equipment failures, unreliable emergency call modes and inconsistent coverage, among other problems. Under the contract, Tyco Electronics has 45 days to recertify the system as ready for use, according to the state.
If Tyco were to lose the contract, analysts have estimated the loss of the contract would reduce Tyco Electronics’ 2009 sales by about $100 million and cut earnings by 2 or 3 cents per share. Rival Motorola potentially could benefit, Citigroup analyst Jim Suva said in a research note.
It may have repercussions for the federal Integrated Wireless Network (above), a nationwide public safety network which some have characterized as mired in bureaucratic and policy pettiness. The $10 billion federal network uses M/A-Com’s digital Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and the P-25 suite of standards to tie local, state and federal public safety agencies together.
Emergency managers like to point out “lives are at sake”. But dual-use handsets that can access satellite services when cellular or police radio towers go out would have saved lives during Hurricane Katrina. When the police radio system was destroyed.
TerreStar’s tiny sat phone (left) is the size of a Blackberry and roams on AT&T’s cellular network. It features Quad-band GSM, satphone connections, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It will be available to North American customers in mid-2009. Spot beam satellites from Inmarsat and ICO will soon be joined by Terrestar and MSV for roaming between terrestrial repeaters.
Related Dailywireless articles include NY State’s Public Service Net: Failure?, NY State’s Wireless Net Broken?, New York State’s $1B Wireless Net, Topoff 4 Begins in Portland, FCC: What’s Wrong with 700MHz Public Service?, Public Safety: We Like 700MHz Public/Private Plan, Hearings on 700MHz Auction, TerreStar Roams with AT&T, Skyterra/MSV Get $500M, MSS: Battle Space,