Carbon County officials have approved the sole bid for a major upgrade project at the 911 Communications Center in Nesquehoning.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve the $192,500 bid from TuWay Communications, Inc. of Bethlehem for the Tech Refresh Project. The project covers necessary hardware and software upgrades at the center, as well as replacing seven servers and workstations for the dispatchers.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained that the project will be paid for through the 911 Equipment Fund, which is funded through Acts 56 and 78. These funds come from user fees that all cell phone and landline users are required to pay monthly in their bills.

"That equipment is being used 24 hours a day, every day of the year," O'Gurek explained. "It's time."

He noted that the computers at the center were installed in 2005.

The county decided to do the upgrade to the 911 system after entering into a $147,000 maintenance agreement with TuWay in December 2010.

At that time, TuWay told officials that the current equipment was not eligible for factory support because it was over five years old. It also would not support software upgrades.

The plan for the project was then to replace the outdated equipment with newer models. A hurdle that the county faced throughout this year was making sure that the equipment they purchase is able to be configured with the software from PlantCML in California, which is the current dispatching software the county uses, and then integrated into the current 911 system. All of this needs to be done with as little down time to the county's 911 system as possible.

The county advertised for bids for the project, but received only one, a $215,831 bid from TuWay. That bid was $55,000 higher than the initial estimates for the project.

In March, the county rejected the bid and voted to readvertise the project at a later day.