In this section we try to bring you a careful selection of news items relevant to public safety communications generally, and interoperability in particular. You are welcome to download documents in this area and forward to anyone you like.
July 24, 2007
Twisted Pair Calls New Grant Funding Rules a Breakthrough for
Responder and Technology Interoperability,
Seattle, Business Wire
July 20, 2007
Bridging communications gap when
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), Enforcement Program, renews their P25 Digital VHF equipment with National Interop
as covered in TMCnet on (May 23, 2007).
GAO released a report (part of their testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security) on May 15. We strongly urge you to review this, as it affects many aspects of preparation and strategy. Download the PDF
here (caution, large download).
National Interop Unveils Mobile Command/Communications Vehicle (MCCV). Tillamook County Sheriff's Office and Tillamook County Emergency Communications District (Tillamook 9-1-1) Acquire New State-of-the-Art Vehicle for Major Emergency and Search and Rescue Operations (May 17, 2007).
Also MRT Mobile Radio Technology mentioned the
Tillamook MCCV (May 18, 2007).
May 1, MRT reported that
the 800 MHz Rebanding process has an FCC established deadline of June, 2008 for the massive project. But that not a single public-safety licensee has completed rebanding 22 months into the 36-month process. Most rebanding participants believe at least two additional years will be needed to complete reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band.
The article also revealed that Sprint Nextel has already spent $1B of the $2.8B reserved for the project, without a single project completed.
Multnomah County (Oregon) Sheriff's Office Partners with National Interop for Regional Communications (April 18, 2007).
DailyWireless.org also covered the Multnomah County announcement, and reprinted a portion of National Interop CEO David Billstrom's U.S. Senate testimony from February.
April also saw the release of the hard-hitting GAO Report on Interoperability, pulling no punches with a title "Much Work Remains To Improve Communications Interoperability" (large download). This is required reading!
Vice Chairman Ted Stevens of the U.S. Senate's Commerce Committee gave an
impassioned speech (March 8, 2007) where he explicitly named IP
systems as a solution for near term and long term interoperability needs.
An amazingly cogent and forthright academic paper on interoperability was published in Homeland Security Affairs, the Journal of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Retired fire chief Ron Timmons discusses the many "soft skills" (our term for procedures and protocol) related to effective emergency communications, which completely matches our experience at emergency incidents over two decades. The title of his paper says it all:
Interoperability: Stop Blaming The Radio. A must read for all public safety leadership.
Emergency Responders Ask Lawmakers for More Spectrum
(Feb 8, 2007) "Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat, said public safety agencies in her state and elsewhere are finding success using existing spectrum with radio over IP (Internet Protocol) devices. This "boot-strap" approach using open standards and radio over IP could cost as little as $300 million across the U.S., as opposed to an average of about $1 billion per state using other equipment, said David Billstrom, chairman and CEO of public safety consulting group National Interop Inc. and a volunteer firefighter." (Article in PC World).
A similar article was also published in
Senate Committee Questions Cyren Call Proposal
(Feb 9, 2007) "David Billstrom, chairman and CEO of National Interop, said software-based radio-over-IP (ROIP) solutions from companies like
Twisted Pair and
Cisco offer immediate interoperability packages at a fraction of the cost of hardware-oriented solutions. While deploying statewide radio systems in all 50 states would cost $50-100 billion, ROIP could be deployed nationwide for $300 million. (Article on
Dispatch magazine (Feb 8, 2007) also chimed in: "A U.S. Senate committee heard testimony on
The Present and Future of Public Safety Communications from representatives of fire, law enforcement, cellular and other businesses today... David Billstrom of consultants National Interop Inc. gave information about interoperability, open and closed radio systems, and the advantages of
IP radio systems." (online version of DISPATCH Monthly Magazine).
CIO Magazine mentioned
David Chamberlain joined National Interop as President.
Raytheon JPS Communications was quoted in
an article in MRT magazine (January, 2007) that "...the most significant change to MCVs [Mobile Command Vehicles] “by far,” is the introduction of IP-based solutions."
"In the early days, we were known as the ‘black box company,’ installing audio bridges in tactical and transportable platforms. Now we're heavily committed to open standard, IP-based communications applications,” Kaluta [Director of Interoperability Solutions for JPS] said, adding that IP lets first responders backhaul communications resources to and from the incident scene. In addition, the company had added devices that can perform as a backup repeater in a forward position and seamlessly integrate a satellite uplink into an MCV's communications suite linked to multiple radio and telephone systems."
We of course agree with him... although they are about a year late!
Check out the DHS scorecards on Tactical Interoperability
After a quiet year, despite initial noise by Cisco of the sale of early IPICS radio-over-IP systems, the mammoth company began talking about IP Radio (or ROIP) again,
highlighted in an MRT article (December, 2006) that discussed their progress so far, and their threat to traditional LMR companies and also to JPS Raytheon.
Twisted Pair's WAVE Receives Additional Investment (National Interop Commentary).
Aspen Institute published a
provocative study urging the public safety community to consider new technology, broadband IP in particular, rather than assuming that more spectrum and more funding will address the issues of inadequate and non-interoperable communications.
The FCC's new Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau began operations September 25, developing, recommending, and administering the agency's policies on public safety communications issues. Read the
Telex Vega and Twisted Pair Partner Up (National Interop Commentary).
begins to ship the MT-4E, the latest generation of the legendary MT series of base station and repeater platform (National Interop Commentary).
Excellent article on
Lessons from Katrina with specific recommendations for planning for communications during and after natural disasters.
The State of Oregon's SIEC (State Interoperability Executive Council) received an update from their consultant on the analysis of the existing state radio networks (there are four independent statewide VHF radio systems) and the realistic expectations for a future trunking system.
Read the briefing to see for yourself why they consider 88% coverage of the state (on average) acceptable.
Perhaps one of the most important documents ever published for the public safety community regarding communications in disasters and large-scale emergencies, the
final report from the FCC's Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks is large (warning, about 9MB download) and detailed, but fascinating with specific lessons learned and recommendations that apply to far more than the Gulf area.
You will also want to review the
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the same Panel.
Finally, we have found the
public comments submitted by M/A-COM, Inc. to the Panel to be thoughtful, consistent, and supportive of using IP Radio (or "ROIP") as one element of preparedness. They are also suggesting sensible changes to how mutual aid channels are licensed by the FCC.
Icom Announces Solution to Limited Spectrum (National Interop Commentary).
New Interoperability Switch Designed For Vehicles from Infinimode (National Interop Commentary).
Download and read the
letter signed by six U.S. Senators, addressed to Secretary Chertoff (Homeland Security), Director Bolton (OMB), and Secretary Gutierrez (Commerce) encouraging the use of funding for IP Radio, not only 700 MHz.
Consider reading the
detailed report published this month on the use of satellite links for operating public safety radios via IP Radio, including detailed measurements on audio quality. Lots of information, but overall a clear endorsement of the technoloy we advocate for
Thoughtful discussion of the intersection of IT professionals and RF experts when installing and maintaining IP Radio systems in
MRT Magazine (Jan 2006).
All Months -- 2005