Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Burden of proof: "First responders soon may need more than a radio or a password to access interoperable networks under development: They will need to verify their identities.

But will fire and police officers accept having to swipe ID cards on their radios or laptops before calling for help? The federal smart-card regulations anticipated under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 are adding layers of complexity to the already difficult goal of strengthening public safety communications by making radios and networks more interoperable with each other.

The identity management regulations initially affect only federal workers and projects, such as the Integrated Wireless Network, a nationwide, $10 billion, wireless network being developed for law enforcement agents in the Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury departments. But many state and local response agencies expect eventually to conform to HSPD-12 as they adapt their own systems to verify identities. An example is DHS’ plan to distribute 200,000 smart cards to first responders in the National Capital Region around Washington."
DHS interoperability effort hits snags: "The Homeland Security Department is making slow progress in its efforts to achieve interoperability in first responder communications, Andrew Maner, the department’s chief financial officer, said at an academic conference today. "

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bridgeport RFQ for Interoperable Communications Project: "The City of Bridgeport (CT), one of twenty-six agencies receiving grants under the U.S. DOJ COPS Interoperable Communications Technology Program this past September, has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for technology firm consultant services. Services are sought for Bridgeport's Public Safety Interoperability Project, an effort to consolidate dispatch operations and created a joint emergency operations center. Selection criteria include company experience, staff qualifications, similar successful project experience, and references, among others. Project management services, in particular, are sought."

Saturday, January 21, 2006

First WiMax Products Officially Certified: "The first fixed WiMAX products have received official certification from the WiMAX Forum, the trade organization said Thursday. The approvals are something of an anti-climax since more than 150 deployments and trials of WiMAX have already been launched, the trade group said. Still, the certifications mark the official launch of the wireless broadband technology. The 802.16-2004 standard for fixed WiMAX was approved last year and the process of certification testing started last summer. The first products to be officially certified as adhering to the standard and as interoperable with other standardized products come from Aperto Networks, Redline Communications, Sequans and Wavesat, the group said. These first products to be certified operate in the 3.5 GHz range."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hurricane Katrina Independent Panel - The FCC has named member's for its panel intended to review the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the telecommunications and media infrastructure in the areas affected by the hurricane. Public safety communications will be one area of focus.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Swap of airwaves encounters snags: "A long-awaited swap of airwaves aimed at eliminating cellphone interference with emergency-service radios across the USA is in turmoil, prolonging communications problems and risking public safety, law enforcement officials say. Public-safety officials and consultants largely blame cost disputes with Sprint Nextel, which is bankrolling the $2.8 billion project. They fear the spectrum transfer, which began in July and is to be completed by mid-2008, could be delayed or done improperly, further hindering communications."
Washington public-safety agencies plan wireless network: "As Everett police Sgt. Boyd Bryant drives through his city's downtown, the laptop computer in his car beeps and blings as he connects and disconnects from a wireless network that covers several blocks. After stopping, Bryant logs on to the city's servers, checks his e-mail and downloads a file. Some hope police and other public-safety workers across Snohomish County will eventually be able to do what Bryant can do now in parts of Everett. The plan, say members of the Public Safety Technology Wireless Sub-Committee, is to lay wide blankets of a high-speed wireless network across the county's most populated areas."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Major metro areas found ineligible for anti-terror grants: "Metropolitan areas as large as Phoenix and San Diego no longer qualify for a major terrorism-preparedness grant program under the Homeland Security Department's new, more 'risk-based' eligibility formula. Homeland Security Tuesday issued a list of 44 regions that may seek a slice of the $765 million available in fiscal 2006 from the Urban Area Security Initiative, which the department said 'provides resources for the unique equipment, training, planning and exercise needs of select high-threat urban areas.'"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Operation: Operability: "The 9/11 terrorist attacks triggered a nationwide scramble to develop interoperable communications among emergency responders. But Hurricane Katrina left officials scratching their heads over the utter disappearance of even basic communications."
Compatible radio systems would cost billions: "As chaos engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, emergency responders traded urgent information in a way that was hardly a model of 21st-century high technology."