NY comptroller: ditch $2 billion wireless network
New York should ditch a $2 billion plan for a statewide wireless network for emergency workers unless a Tyco Electronics Ltd unit can fix the already-delayed system's problems, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said on Thursday.
The plan was created to improve communications between emergency first responders such as police and firefighters after the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.
But New York's biggest-ever technology contract, awarded to Tyco Electronics unit M/A-COM in 2005, is a year and a half behind schedule and has suffered from technology problems found in a system audit, according to Jennifer Freeman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic comptroller.
"It's very likely this contract is not going to go ahead unless the issues are fixed," Freeman said.
Tyco Electronics said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters that the audit "includes a number of inaccuracies" and said it would "correct any remaining outstanding issues related to the first phase of this program."
A spokesperson for New York's Office for Technology (OFT), which is expected to decide whether to accept or reject the first phase of the network build-out in two counties by August 29, said it would take the audit into consideration.
"OFT will continue to work with the Comptroller's Office and all stakeholders to ensure New York has an interoperable public safety grade radio network for first responders," the agency added.
But DiNapoli said New York should go back to the drawing board unless M/A-COM can fix the problems.
"After three rounds of failed testing, it is apparent that this system is not ready to move forward. M/A-COM has not met its contractual obligations and New York can't afford to spend $2 billion on a system that doesn't work right," he said.
"It's time to fish or cut bait. M/A-COM has to deliver what it promised," DiNapoli added.
M/A-COM said in March it successfully completed coverage testing in the two New York counties comprising the first region in the network. The state did more recent testing.
The statewide network was expected to be completed and fully operational by July 2010, according to Freeman.