The predecessor of UCA was Utah Communications Agency Network (UCAN). UCAN was created by the Utah State Legislature in 1997. One of the primary goals was to provide for Statewide Public Safety two-way radio coverage paid for by the user agencies. UCAN was created as a Quasi State Agency that was managed by a board of directors initially made up of representatives of 5 State agencies, and 10 local agency members. Since 1997 the makeup of the board increased to accommodate the needs of the system and provide for proper representation of the radio system users.
Since the early 1970's public safety radio in Utah was primarily in the VHF band. For various reasons, not the least of which was the lack of adequate frequencies and the direction of the FCC to provide specifically for public safety in the 800 MHz band the decision was made to build out the new trunked radio system in the 800 MHz frequency band. The new system was initially planned to cover the needs of 5 counties, Weber, Morgan, Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah. After Salt Lake received the vote to host the 2002 Winter Olympics and because of the Olympic venues in Summit and Wasatch Counties, they were added and then Tooele County requested to be part of the new radio system.
The Olympics were a huge shot in the arm in creating additional funding and equipment to expand coverage and traffic handling capacity beyond what was initially planned. Since the original 8 county footprint the system has been expanded to cover Cache, Rich and Washington counties, as well as most of Box Elder County.
A concerted effort has been made to provide 800 MHz coverage on most of the major highways in the state.
The radio communications infrastructure for the balance of the State was primarily VHF and from a State perspective was built and maintained by State employed technicians working for Utah Department of Transportation, then Department of Public Safety, then Division of Technology Services. In the 2014 State legislature House Bill 155, sponsored by Rep Brad Dee and Senator Wayne Harper, passed and created the Utah Communications Authority. HB 155 provided for the merging of all State radio communication service from both the DTS radio shop and UCAN to be merged into one independent organization. It also provided for administrative oversight of the State 911 Committee. As of July 1, 2014 UCA now manages the radio and microwave infrastructure of all State owned resources, both 800 MHz and VHF systems.