Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Says Harris Corporation OpenSky® Technology Delivered During Back-to-Back Snow Emergencies

BOSTON, MA,  — In back-to-back snowstorms that slammed Pennsylvania, public safety and professional communications technology from Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) managed more than a million calls on the Commonwealth’s STARNet communications system. Powered by Harris OpenSky® technology, PA-STARNet is one of the largest public safety communications systems in North America and among the largest private microwave networks in the world.

In a recent statement, the Pennsylvania Office of Administration pointed out PA-STARNet enabled seamless interoperability so that emergency personnel on different radio systems could quickly communicate with one another. This essential interoperability among users allows for more efficient responses to emergencies.  

“We are very pleased with the system’s performance during the storms,” said Charles Brennan, deputy secretary for Public Safety Radio, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Administration. “It is vitally important that all of our men and women out there working in dangerous conditions have a reliable and robust communications network. Communications is absolutely essential and the system delivered.”  

According to the Commonwealth, the “system delivered” during the emergencies as the PA State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and local agencies used STARNet through increasingly dangerous conditions.  

The recent snowstorms created an emergency situation across all of Pennsylvania and required ongoing coordination among several state agencies. The OpenSky network provided connection throughout the state, while its “talkgroup” structure allowed users to communicate virtually instantly with those most critical. There was no need for patching or dispatcher-aided communications. Because of OpenSky’s technology structure, it can handle an enormous volume of calls at any given time.

Data compiled by the Commonwealth show that:

• During the Feb. 5-7 storm, a total of 721,000 calls were processed – including calls among local first responders, power companies, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the PA Turnpike Commission.

• During the Feb. 10 storm, a total of 430,743 calls by all system users were processed in a 24-hour period.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased the system performed so well during such critical circumstances,” said George Helm, vice president and general manager, LMR Operations, Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications. “The system is designed to provide reliable, robust and interoperable communications between state and local agencies. It is obviously measuring up.”

Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications is a leading supplier of assured communications® systems and equipment for public safety, federal, utility, commercial and transportation markets — with products ranging from the most advanced IP voice and data networks, to industry leading multiband, multimode radios, to public safety-grade broadband video and data solutions. With more than 80 years of experience, Harris supports over 500 systems around the world.

About Harris Corporation
Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5 billion of annual revenue and more than 15,000 employees — including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications® products, systems, and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at


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