PSCS FAQ for Manitoba Non-Government Organizations

 

What is P25 technology?

Project 25 (P25) is the standard for the design and manufacturing of interoperable digital two-way wireless communication products.  Developed in North America with provincial/state, local and federal representatives and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) governance, P25 has gained worldwide acceptance for public safety, security and public service applications.
 
The published P25 standards suite is administered by the telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).  Radio equipment that demonstrates compliance with P25 is able to meet a set of minimum requirements to fit the needs of public safety. The P25 standard was created by, and is intended for, public safety professionals.
 

What does PSCS offer subscribers?

The service is based on a public safety grade P25 network that is specifically designed and operated for the public safety and public service community in Manitoba.  PSCS will provide reliable voice communications to support public safety and public service activities and to help coordinate services during emergencies (e.g. fire, flood).  PSCS will enhance interoperability, coverage, security and reliability to more effectively respond to emergencies in an efficient and coordinated manner.

 

What are some benefits of PSCS?

  • Expanded coverage
  • Geographically redundant core for high availability
  • Enhanced core and tower site security
  • Higher level of encryption – managed by the RCMP
  • Radio spectrum reserved for public safety and public service entities
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Centralized Contract Management
  • Governance model with business, technical and service assurance committees
  • Services Level Agreements and penalties
  • System reporting
  • Training and training materials
  • Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning

What is a public safety radio system?

A public safety radio system is one that is specifically designed and operated for the public safety community.  Systems are constructed to address the demanding requirements of public safety communications such as coverage, interoperability, enhanced security and reliability.
 

Who owns the PSCS?

The infrastructure and equipment are owned and maintained by Bell.  All handheld, base and vehicle radios, and accessories will continue to be purchased and owned by the PSE.
 

Is PSCS centrally managed on behalf of PSEs?

Yes.  Manitoba is responsible for contract management of the Master Services Agreement with Bell.  Management of PSCS includes management of various governance committees that provide direction on issues of reliability, functionality, dispute resolution, system serviceability and service level accountability.
 

Who will be the users of PSCS?

PSCS may include a broad range of Government and Non-Government agencies, all of which contribute to public safety of Manitobans.
 
In order to qualify for PSCS, each PSE must first meet the requirements set by Industry, Science and Economic Development (ISED) in RP-25 – Policy Principles for Public Safety Radio Interoperability - Spectrum management and telecommunications.
 
  • Category 1 users (police, fire, and emergency medical services) permitted to use the 700 MHz radio service on the PSCS System.
  • Category 2 users (forestry, public works, public transit, hazardous material clean-up, border protection and other agencies contributing to public safety).
  • Category 3 users (other government agencies and certain non-government agencies) may be permitted to access to the PSCS System during emergency situations where their access is controlled by a Category 1 user.
 

Is it mandatory I replace all my existing FleetNet radios so I can use the new Public Safety Communications Service (PSCS)?

No.  You may replace only a portion of your FleetNet radios.  The decision will be based on your operational requirements and budget.
 

Is there a specific way to determine how many PSCS radios I need?

No.  Every organization is unique.  The radio minimum quantity should be based on current needs and take into account some redundancy in order to:
  • Communicate with E911
  • Communicate amongst members of the department at multiple calls, mutual aid partners, police and EMS
  • Consider portables as well as mobile radios fixed in apparatus
 

Is there a requirement to replace my existing VHF radios and pager services?

No.  PSCS will only replace the existing FleetNet services provided by Bell MTS.
 

Is there a requirement to have my radio configured with encryption?

Yes, if you are a police, fire, or emergency medical services agency.
 

Do I have to sign an agreement for PSCS with Manitoba?

Yes.  By signing and returning the Participation Agreement for PSCS, your organization will be provided with access to PSCS, as well as the respective PSCS contract management services. 
 

Are there monthly fees for PSCS?

No.  As part of the PSCS Services Offering, Manitoba will pay for your monthly PSCS subscription fees due for your organization which is in effect as of July 1, 2021.
 

Will existing FleetNet radios work on PSCS?

Requests for information about existing radios and if they can be upgraded to work on PSCS should be directed to your radio supplier or through Bell.  For additional information, please refer to the PSCS approved radio list found in the Bell Subscriber Equipment Information Guide.
 

Where can I purchase radios?

Requests for information about radio options and purchasing new radios can be directed to your radio supplier or through Bell.

Is it mandatory for municipalities to participate on PSCS?

Yes.  Communicating with E911 requires PSCS.  Broad participation provides interoperability resulting in better public safety communications and coordinated response.
 

Will PSCS replace existing VHF networks and pager services used by municipalities?

No.  PSCS will only replace the existing FleetNet services provided by Bell MTS.
 

Will telephone interconnect be available?

Yes, if you are a police, fire, or emergency medical services agency.
 

Has Manitoba engaged the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM)?

Yes.  If you have questions about the FleetNet Replacement Project, contact Nick Krawetz of the AMM at nkrawetz@amm.mb.ca.
 

Will there be training available on the features of PSCS?

Yes.  For radios purchased through Bell, Bell will provide training at no cost on the PSCS network and operation of their radio model(s) to new PSE’s that are joining PSCS.  Upon request from a PSE that has transitioned to PSCS, Bell will provide additional materials and training to the PSE’s training coordinator or other personnel on a time and materials basis.  
 

Is Motorola radio the only radio authorized for using PSCS today?

Yes.  Bell has a list of Motorola radios approved for PSCS network. These radios have been specifically engineered for the authorized use on the PSCS network. All radio of other makes and models would need to be authorized by Manitoba for using PSCS, and would require additional programming and set up of which the costs are at the expense of the PSE.
 

What is the warranty coverage for Motorola radios and accessories?

The warranty on equipment follows the one (1) year manufacturer's warranty.
 

What happens if there are issues with the newly issued/purchased radios and accessories (batteries, chargers, cases)?

PSE should call Bell's Service Desk for warranty repairs or replacement of radios and accessories except for batteries. Regarding issues with radio batteries, please follow the IMPRES Battery Care Guidelines first to see if the battery issues can be resolved. If battery problem persists, please call Bell Service Desk:  BMRadioCC@bell.ca or 1-833-551-3925.
 

Who pays shipping cost for the radios/accessories to be repaired or replaced?

The PSE is responsible for the cost of shipping the radios/accessories to repair depot; Bell is responsible for the cost of shipping back to the PSE.
 

If I have further questions who do I contact?

For further information please send your request to PSCSSupport@gov.mb.ca.