Flint Energies, an electric power co-op in central Georgia, operates a terrestrial microwave network for internal voice and data traffic; it links to the public switched network for inter-LATA long distance connections. When we began this project, most of this system operated in the 2 GHz band, and was subject to frequency relocation to support expansion of PCS mobile phone networks.
After a detailed analysis of the existing system and extensive user interviews, The Howland Company prepared a preliminary design for an integrated 6 GHz digital voice/data system to replace the existing system.
We advised Flint Energies in negotiations with PCS providers to accelerate the project timetable to make the 2 GHz band available for PCS network use as quickly as possible. As a result of these negotiations, The Howland Company designed and implemented temporary 6 GHz systems to replace some existing 2 GHz hops. This interim solution allowed the PCS providers much quicker access to the 2 GHz spectrum, in return for which the PCS carriers financed the entire Flint Energies system upgrade.
The Howland Company prepared a detailed system design and equipment specifications and RFP documents to implement the new system. We wrote performance and interface specifications for the new system's microwave radio equipment, antennas, towers, terminal station equipment, multiplex, PBX's, and a dedicated digital data processing system. We also managed the FCC license application and frequency coordination work for Flint Energies.
We then reviewed the submitted bid proposals and helped Flint Energies choose the winning bid. We performed construction coordination, path alignment, and system acceptance test oversight. Despite the very aggressive schedule required to win the PCS carriers' commitment to fund the upgrade, system installation and hot cut-over was completed on time and without any interruption of traffic on the existing system.