Friday, March 16, 2007

Homeland Security official acknowledges the importance of analog radio: "In another area, communications, David Boyd, director of command and control systems at DHS, said analog communications may be better than digital in some cases. Digital, Boyd said, requires a 'high degree of fidelity' -- if the signal isn't strong enough, digital may not work. Analog, however, can be more forgiving and may be best suited for some uses. 'You have to think about what you are trying to do,' he said."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Counties to create emergency radio system: "San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda counties are partnering to create a $307 million emergency radio system that will allow the region’s public safety and transit agencies to communicate on the same frequency."
Sununu adds amendment to public-safety communications bill: "Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) is pushing an amendment to a homeland security bill that would ensure Internet Protocol-based solutions are not excluded from government grants aimed at making public-safety communications interoperable. Sununu’s proposed amendment is expected to be voted on this week in Senate floor action on a bill to implement unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Technology Trap: "Governance, not technology, is the key to interoperability" - Jim McKay

"One of the main issues raised during the first Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO) conference in 1935 was interoperability. Then it was called 'inter-city communications,' said APCO President Wanda McCarley, but was essentially the same thing -- only on a lesser scale."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Police Chief Magazine - Chertoff Interview: "Grossman: You have the Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (ICTAP) and you're using scorecards to ensure communications will work when they're needed. What do you have planned as a continuation of that program? For example, will technical assistance be provided to help agencies carry out some of these plans?

Chertoff: Let me divide the challenge into two areas. First is the technological challenge and the second is the governance challenge. We have made over $2 billion available in grants for communications bridging, or gateway, equipment that allows people to talk across different elements of the spectrum. That kind of grant funding will continue to be eligible. Another element is governance. Communities have to agree on some common rules of the road, which isn't a question of money but a question of everybody getting in the room and signing on to a common plan about what codes you use and who gets to talk to whom and what the rules of the road are. The scorecards are going to help communities recognize that they have to get their people together and finally sign off on a governance plan. We are also looking at promulgating standards for the next generation of digital equipment, P25 equipment, so that when communities make acquisitions they'll know which standards to seek."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Grant Program: "On February 16th, the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and the DHS Office of Grants & Training signed an agreement for management of the $1B grant program known as PSIC. This link accesses the document directly (3.5 MB)."