State of Ohio MARCS Sustainability Study


The State of Ohio operates an extensive 800 MHz Land Mobile Radio network serving over 70,000 users spread across over 80 counties and 1,200+ agencies. In 2016, the state upgraded to a standards-based APCO P25 platform anchored on a long-term vendor contract. However, the program faced substantial risks and uncertainties regarding its long-term sustainability and funding model, which depended on user fee revenue.

Project Tasks

The State engaged Televate, LLC and its partner Advocate Consulting to conduct a study on the long-term sustainability of the Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS), the Ohio statewide land mobile radio network, and additionally to better frame the organization’s role with respect to emerging technologies such as centralized CAD services, broadband applications and FirstNet services. The Advocate-Televate Team performed an evaluation of the MARCS organizational and financial structures and developed a business operations framework to align the mission of the State’s “life-critical public safety network” with optimal processes, management/staffing structures, operational plans and sustainable funds. In 2017, Televate completed the following activities:

  • Developed new customer engagement and on-boarding plans and revenue projections
  • Proposed marketing/outreach campaigns including web material, direct outreach
  • Evaluated ability/mechanism to absorb or incorporate existing local systems into MARCS
  • Reviewed current O&M plans (internal, vendor, Motorola, third-party) to ensure effective maintenance plans
  • Reviewed service level agreements (SLAs) with Motorola and other third-party vendors
  • Investigated and recommended optimal O&M structures, realignment of staff, assignment of responsibilities
  • Outlined staff training, facility updates, etc.
  • Investigated and recommended supply side/revenue sources, as applicable
  • Modeled shared service opportunities between MARCS and appropriate DAS support organizations
  • Identified and outlined planned and expected technical upgrade and corresponding financial requirements
  • Provided capital improvement plan framework – needs and use case, test and deployment, and funding
  • Devised near-term technical and operational steps to improve radio service and interoperability
  • Provided guidance on a governance and operational structure for the prospective consolidated system