Shrewsbury asks to share Worcester’s public safety radio frequencies

Photo by/Laura Hayes
A radio site will be built at the fire station on Centech Boulevard as part of the project.

By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer

SHREWSBURY — Shrewsbury is interested in using Worcester’s public safety radio frequency. 

Trying to make that possible, Shrewsbury firefighter and lead technical support on public safety radios Joseph Milosz presented an intermunicipal agreement between the town and Worcester during the May 11 Board of Selectmen meeting, which was unanimously approved.

“Part of the challenge of the radio world unfortunately right now is frequencies are very regulated by the FCC [Federal Communications Commission],” Milosz said.

Between cellphones and 5G rollout, it’s not easy to get a new radio frequency, he said.

“The best way to go forward was to take and add on to the City of Worcester’s system,” Mizlosz explained. “…It’s using what’s already built into the city, which is new.”

He said Worcester’s system was built five years ago.

To add on to the Worcester system, Milosz said two radio sites need to be added in Shrewsbury on the Masonic Hill and at the fire station on Centech Boulevard. 

However, before the town can do that, it needs to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with Worcester. 

Worcester has 12 frequencies licensed to the city by the FCC. The agreement would allow those frequencies to be shared by Shrewsbury, Milosz said. 

“Both sides gain better coverage for each of their geographical areas with the way the system is set up,” Milosz said.

While it would cost money to build the two radio sites, Milosz said there would be no fee to share the frequencies. All maintenance and repairs to the Shrewsbury site and equipment would be paid for by the town. 

The radio equipment approved during the September Town Meeting will be owned by Shrewsbury. Milosz said Motorola is finalizing their proposal for Shrewsbury for the equipment and subscriber radios. 

The intermunicipal agreement will now go back to Worcester for City Council approval. 

If approved, this agreement will let Shrewsbury use the already-existing system by July 1, Milosz said. He estimated that construction will begin on the Shrewsbury sites by late fall or early winter.