(ISICS) Common Misconceptions

1. It will be 5-10 years before the Iowa Interoperable Statewide System (ISICS) is built (FALSE)

  • a. The build out will be done by the end of this year (towers up and microwaves linked), Motorola is projected to be finished with project by July 2018

2. The platform is controlled by the State (FALSE)

  • a. The ISICS Board sets the rules for use of the system which is comprised of law enforcement, emergency managers, and first responders from across the state
  • b. Committees and working groups are comprised of local users, they determine rules of the system

3. User fee charges (FALSE)

  • a. There are no user fees

4. State will take away local frequencies (FALSE)

  • a. Not true – each county has frequencies for the state and for the county itself. There are 2 buckets per county – one bucket is dedicated to statewide frequencies and one bucket is dedicated to county frequencies. They can use the county wide frequencies however they choose.
  • b. The ISICS frequencies are based on frequency plan that the state has right now
  • c. Local entities may bring in additional frequencies from the county allocated general pool
  • d. Local entities own, license and manage their own frequencies

5. The system was built for the state (FALSE)

  • a. ISICS was built to provide a cost-effective baseline for Iowa, the users can utilize
  • b. Baseline coverage guarantee gives the same baseline coverage across the state regardless of population density and provides the same ability to build out the system based on county or agency preference
  • c. Allows for local entities to integrate in a cost-effective manner
  • d. Platform provides for enhanced capabilities if integration is desired (GPS, Over-the-air-programming, and voice/text connectivity to a cell phone)

6. The state will control local operations (FALSE)

  • a. ISICS was built to provide interoperability and collaboration
  • b. ISICS provides local users with enhanced operational capabilities. For example, it can be used with prisoner transport. When the task takes officers across county lines, they are able to stay in constant contact with their dispatcher and state troopers.
  • c. ISICS will not determine how counties set up their talk groups

7. The state will control what is allowed on the system (FALSE)

  • a. Interoperability channels are defined for consistency. They are built on the principle that there is some commonality throughout different homeland security regions throughout Iowa for safety purposes Therefore, if there is an emergency, a law enforcement professional or first responder from anywhere in the state may use his/her radio to communicate when responding to the incident.
  • b. Operational channels are defined by your local entity

8. The State is going to listen to your local talkgroups/channels (FALSE)

  • a. This is possible only if the local entity establishes a mutual agreement
  • b. There is also programming capability to link up certain counties that you work specifically with on a case by case basis
  • c. Point to point operations can be programmed into the radio

9. Connecting competing 700 MHZ systems via an ISSI is plug and play (FALSE)

  • a. The ISSI connection is not a proven transfer. In fact, this type of transfer has had multiple problems nationally.
  • b. Even if it can be transferred, the situation is not “plug and play.” It will take millions of dollars, a deep technical understanding, significant programming, and multiple trainings. The cost, labor and time of this transfer will be passed onto users.


  • ISICS is here and live – widespread site coverage here by July 2018, system link up by December 2018
  • Baseline helps provide consistent guaranteed 95% coverage throughout the state. Rural counties can benefit by using the infrastructure the state puts up instead of investing in their own
  • There is statewide local county law enforcement, emergency management and first responder representation on ISICS Board
  • ISICS provides significant increase of interoperability capabilities
  • Radio control remains with the user
  • An ISSI gateway that would serve to connect ISICS and other 700 MHZ systems is not plug and play, will cost millions of dollars that will be passed onto the user, and has been poorly evaluated throughout the country as a public safety measure

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