Lte | 2019-02-12

City of Tacoma Awards MCPTT Broadband Service Contract with P25 Radio Integration to ESChat

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The City of Tacoma selects ESChat to augment its public safety radio network, providing encrypted end-to-end Push-to-Talk communication between traditional public safety radios and smartphone devices.

The City of Tacoma, Washington has awarded a multi-year contract for Broadband Push-to-Talk (PTT) service to ESChat. Broadband PTT service provides radio-like communication on a smartphone, tablet and PC devices over commercial wireless networks. The contract includes broadband PTT service as well as integration with the City’s existing Motorola P25 public safety radio network. Integration of the ESChat and Motorola systems has been performed using the P25 Inter Sub System Interface (ISSI) protocol and provides end-to-end encrypted communications between all users.

Integration of Broadband Push-to-Talk services with traditional public safety radio systems enhances the communication capability of first responders. Broadband PTT users enjoy reliable communication with dispatch and radio users while operating in areas of poor coverage or outside the radio coverage area, The selection of ESChat provides the City flexibility to use the wireless carrier(s) that best meet their needs, as ESChat supports Push-to-Talk communication on and between all wireless carriers.

The City of Tacoma’s implementation, which leverages ISSI to integrate ESChat with the City’s P25 network represents the most technologically advanced option for LMR to LTE integration and is among the first of its kind to be put into commercial service. ESChat recently announced the general availability of P25 Phase 2 support over ISSI, and also the availability of dynamic encryption re-keying via the P25 Key Management Facility (KMF). Both of these features are included in the Tacoma contract.

The award follows a 2017 Request for Proposal (RFP), along with post vendor selection validation testing. The delay between selection and award included a scheduled software update to the City’s Motorola P25 Land Mobile Radio (LMR) network and validation of that update with the ESChat system. Implementation of the ESChat system and P25 ISSI integration to the City’s radio network was completed earlier this month.