Case Study: City of Houston Interoperable Communications System

Improving Interoperability in the 4th Largest City in the United States


The Client

The City of Houston, Texas. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. Its public safety and public service agencies include 20,000 radio system users operating on a variety of aging 800 MHz and conventional UHF and VHF radio systems.


The Project

The project included the following components:

  • Develop a phased wireless system replacement strategy that would incorporate all of the City’s public safety and public service agencies on a single, shared 700/800 MHz interoperable communications system.

  • Ensure proper levels of cross-jurisdictional and cross-discipline interoperability.

  • Ensure adequate levels of public safety grade coverage that includes in-building coverage in a dense urban environment.

  • Develop an implementation strategy with a firm budget that supports the City’s need to build a replacement system for aging radio systems.


RCC's Role

RCC performed a comprehensive assessment of the City’s communications system environment, developed system replacement alternatives and cost estimates, developed specifications for the new interoperable system, and supported the City during the procurement process. The new system achieves the following important objectives:


  • Eliminates traditional islands of voice communication between public safety agencies and between public safety and other essential services.
  • Replaces old and technologically obsolete systems with a standards-based technology platform that is designed to meet the specific needs of users and provides for future technology refreshes.
  • Ensured robust coverage design based on public safety standards for urban environments and in-building coverage of large buildings.


In October 2008, the Houston City Council awarded a $132 million contract to Motorola for the system. RCC’s team is currently assisting the City in implementation of the system.