Kansas utility to implement cutting-edge Tait trunked digital network

Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) has selected Tait Communications, a global leader in providing critical communications solutions, to provide a Tier 3 trunked Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Network throughout its 18,000-square mile service area. 

The 21-site VHF DMR deployment will utilize the TN9300 core network and support the use of 1,200 TP9300 DMR portables and TM9300 mobiles by KCP&L staff. KCP&L has been named the most reliable utility in the Midwest five years in a row and the communications network will be an important component in the company's award-winning restoration process. 

KCP&L Telecommunications Supervisor Richard Speck says reliability is a critical factor when selecting a new radio communications network. 

"With one of our networks approaching end-of-life, we wanted to take this opportunity to consolidate our communications. We selected Tait because of its track record of providing communications solutions to large utilities in North America and, at the same time, we wanted to invest in the best technology available to support the operations of our staff." 

KCP&L currently utilizes three radio networks, including an end-of-life 800MHz analog trunked and two analog conventional systems. The installation of the new digital radio network will enable the organization to consolidate these three systems into one DMR VHF network. 

Tait Communications is the first vendor to be awarded a DMR Tier 3 interoperability certificate by the DMR Association following formal standardized testing of the Tait network infrastructure. 

Frank Owen, Chief Executive Officer, Tait Communications, says KCP&L will be able to reap the benefits of a digital radio platform that has been developed for use by electric utilities. 

"The Tait DMR Tier 3 network will provide KCP&L with crystal-clear voice technology and a path to transform the system into a multi-purpose communications platform that becomes the data network from which it can deploy a range of business applications, such as Automatic Vehicle Location." 

Tait is a supplier of trunked radio networks to several of the United States' largest electric utilities. The company is a long-time advocate of open-standards technology and its DMR solution is no exception.

Tait DMR is built on the proven MPT 1327 trunking architecture and designed to be fully compliant with the Digital Mobile Radio open standards defined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). 

A five-year support agreement with Tait will enable KCP&L to smoothly migrate and then manage its network into the future. 

As part of the digital upgrade, 52 Zetron Advanced Communications (Acom EVO) consoles will be installed and interconnected through the open-standard AIS interface. 

Mr Owen says electric utilities cannot afford to compromise on the digital radio communications that support their workers. 

"Utilities rely on communication networks to keep workers safe and informed as they work to maintain grid performance and restore outages. DMR Tier 3 is the no-compromise digital trunked radio platform for electric utilities. It is the right platform for building a fully connected and secure enterprise with improved voice, data, location services and vehicle telemetry communications." 

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Great Plains Energy Incorporated (NYSE: GXP) is the holding company of Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company, two of the leading regulated providers of electricity in the Midwest.

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