ISICS Radio - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

The Iowa Statewide Communications System Board (ISICSB), the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the State of Iowa are currently building out the Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS).


Question 1: When will ISICS be here?
  • Answer 1: The build-out target for nearly all sites is set for the end of calendar year 2017. The acceptance testing is set to conclude in Summer 2018.
Question 2: Who controls the ISICS platform?
  • Answer 2: ISICSB sets the rules for use of the system. The committees and working groups are comprised of local users.
Question 3: Are there going to be user fees?
  • Answer 3: There are NO user fees to be a part of the ISICS platform. The only costs are associated with users' equipment purchasing and maintenance of that equipment.
Question 4: Will the State take away local frequencies?
  • Answer 4: No. The ISICS sites are designed to use state frequency pools. Local entities may bring in additional frequencies from the county allocated general pool. Local entities own, license, and manage their own frequencies and talkgroups.
Question 5: What equipment will work with ISICS?
  • Answer 5: Any radio that is P25 Phase II TDMA, 700 MHz and offers AES256 encryption will be fully functional with the ISICS platform. A P25 Phase I radio will work but is not the preferred method of access.
Question 6: Was the system built just for the State?
  • Answer 6: ISICS was built to provide a cost effective baseline (95% statewide mobile coverage network) for interoperability across Iowa. This approach avoids a "Big Government one size fits all approach." This also allows for local entities to integrate in a cost effective manner, and the ISICS platform provides for enhanced capabilities if integration is desired - GPS, OTAP, OTAR, WAVE, etc.
Question 7: Will the State control local operations?
  • Answer 7: No. ISICS was built to provide independence and enhance collaboration. ISICS will also provide enhanced operational capabilities that have not previously existed in Iowa.
Question 8: Will the State control what is allowed on the system?
  • Answer 8: ISICSB will handle the interoperability channels/talkgroups so a defined consistency exists for users. This will eliminate confusion during situations that present a need for interoperability. Operational channels/talkgroups are defined by the local entity and controlled by that local entity.
Question 9: Will the State listen to local talkgroups/channels?
  • Answer 9: No. The State will be using software to verify that calls are successful in order to ensure a specific grade of service. The only instance when the State may listen to calls is with permission from the local entity.
Question 10: Who does the SWIC work for?
  • Answer 10: The SWIC works for the ISICSB - which is comprised of local public safety members. His primary objective is to foster interoperable communication across Iowa with LMR and public safety broadband.
Question 11: Who will own ISICS once it is built?
  • Answer 11: ISICSB will own ISICS once the project is complete.
Question 12: What type of access is available?
  • Answer 12: There are four user levels. They are defined below"
    • Level 1: Interoperability only.
    • Level 2: Operability and interoperability. This includes using ISICS for dispatching and custom, locally-controlled talkgroups.
    • Level 3: Operability and interoperability with extra features or functions.
    • Level 4: All features of levels 1-3 but also a need for additional coverage - extra towers.


Printed from the website on December 13, 2017 at 3:15am.