New communications system running in Jackson County

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Jackson County has a new communications system, which some emergency responders say was much needed.

The $2.9 million radio system went live January 15.

Jackson County emergency management coordinator Kristina Page said the process has been a couple of years in the making.

She says the system was upgraded, because of a mandate from the federal government to switch to narrowband.

The system was supposed to go live December 31, 2012, but there were some delays such as weather.

However, the county was able to get waivers from the FCC.

Page said the old system wasn’t adequate for narrowband, because there were gaps in coverage.

“It was so critical to have a system that would work, that we would have coverage throughout the county, and so this was just absolutely necessary to do the upgrade,” said Page.

Pages said there’s still some fine tuning left to do with volume, but overall the new communications system is working well.

The new system has four channels highway, police, fire and multi-purpose.

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