PCN - The Public Communications Network


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A Service of the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission (MACC) and Comcast.

PCN: A Unique Partnership

In 1988, MACC formed a partnership with the cable operator to administer the Public Communications Network (PCN) with MACC coordinating and helping to market the network, and the cable operator managing and operating it.  This resulted in one of the largest and most active institutional cable networks in the country, carrying data, telemetry, voice, and closed circuit video services between dozens of public agencies, schools, and libraries.

Today the PCN continues its unique partnership between Comcast, MACC, and the public and nonprofit agencies in the Tualatin Valley that use the PCN. The common goal of the PCN is to provide quality, affordable telecommunications services by putting cable-based bandwidth into public service. The PCN provides the sort of data or information super highway that is only now being planned or envisioned in most regions, yet it has been serving a diverse community of agencies in the Tualatin Valley since 1983.

PCN Upgraded to All-Fiber -- In 1999, MACC renewed its Cable Services Franchise Agreement with TCI (now Comcast) which required the PCN to be upgraded to all fiber linking the 200+ sites connected to the network. Comcast completed that upgrade by 2003. Today, PCN Users use the new PCN for high speed point-to-point data links ranging from T-1 to Gigabit Ethernet service. This enables the carriage of large amounts of data including computer aided drafting/mapping (CAD/CAM), and the provision of Internet and email services to local governments and schools (over 35,000 PCs are connected through the PCN). Video training is also carried on the PCN to area fire stations, as well as computer aided dispatch to police departments.

The PCN enables -- on a single network -- the delivery of highly effective, market-proven data, video, voice, and telemetry communications services. More than mere cable connections, the PCN is a network of services, support, expertise, consulting, and technology. The PCN provides unique opportunities to experiment collaboratively with innovative applications and telecommunications resources, and to employ them in the most cost-effective manner.

Communities Benefit from the PCN

Communication between local governments within Washington County is enhanced and made more efficient through the use of the PCN. The PCN links public institutions such as schools, government buildings, libraries, fire, and police stations. Here are two examples of the many public uses of the PCN:

WCCCA - The PCN centralizes the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency’s (9-1-1 Center) emergency response communications through a computer aided dispatch system. Through this network, computer record’s systems at different locations can exchange and update information to build a record and generate information about police and fire agency response.

A specific application of the PCN at the WCCCA center involves consolidating data into one database accessible by all departments on the network. For example, a police officer or fire fighter responding to an incident can get important information simultaneously, such as the name of the owner of the property, if there is any hazardous material present, or a specific license plate number. By doing so, response times are shorter.

WCCLS -- Libraries through the Washington County Consolidated Library Service or WCCLS use the PCN for Internet access as well as for an on-line catalog of books and other materials available for loan. Library patrons use the PCN network whenever they order a book or when they request materials from another member library (electronic inter-library loan).

From database management to Internet access, the PCN serves a wide variety of purposes at a value that jurisdictions throughout Tualatin Valley and Washington County can afford. The PCN is a true success story of MACC, Comcast, and users working together to create a unique and cost effective communications system.

adobePDFiconThe Public Communications Network (2004 Slide Presentation to City Managers)

The Public Communications Network - A Service of the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission (MACC) and Comcast