Switching at scale

Over in the US, Alliant Energy recently completed its transition to DMR Tier III. Sam Fenwick hears from those involved in the project about its delivery and their tips for other utilities

Imagine your radio system covers 54,000 square miles and is instrumental to meeting the needs of nearly a million electricity users and more than 400,000 natural gas customers, but it’s close to 25 years old and consists of a few disparate systems. This was the situation that Alliant Energy, an energy utility based in the US Midwest in the states of Iowa and Wisconsin, faced in 2015.

Ron Graber, director – operational resources at Alliant Energy, says: “We had three different legacy radio systems [iDen, analogue trunking and conventional analogue] covering various parts of our territory. Our primary requirements with an upgrade were safety, for both our workers and our customers, and the efficient dispatch of work. We wanted a system that, from the point of view of coverage and usability, was as good as, or better than, what we had.”

The company opted for a 122-site DMR Tier III system to be supplied by Tait Communications in a number of phases and that would be supported by a 12-year managed services contract beginning from the end of the roll-out’s first phase.

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