DHS to Award Research Funds for Natl. First Responder Wireless Net

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The Department of Homeland Security wants to develop a wireless service for synchronizing public safety communications nationwide, NextGov reports.

Aliya Sternstein writes that DHS’ security science and technology directorate‘s $8 million research opportunity is aimed at equipping authorities and first responders with data and video transmission capabilities during crises.

The Next Generation Tactical Wireless Broadband is an 18-month project for establishing a quick approach to upgrade existing network services, Sternstein reports.

DHS said it would contract the project to industry, government laboratories, academic institutions or nonprofit organizations.

The research will focus on providing first responders high-speed internet for land mobile radios, emergency broadband data and video services that can interact with commercial smartphones, and remotely control emergency communications devices.

The new system should also be able to integrate the public safety network with commercial networks, DHS says.

NextGov reports that public safety officials currently lack an interconnected network for relaying messages quickly during disasters and DHS’ tactical communications systems can only handle slow-speed voice services.

White papers are due by Sep. 7 and formal proposals will be due by Nov. 26.

In April, DHS awarded a $3 billion communications contract to a group of 10 companies for radios and other commercial equipment.

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