DHS to start wireless pilot projects

The Department of Homeland Security will call for industry to propose innovative wireless interoperability solutions through a broad agency announcement to be issued at the end of March, said Rick Murphy, program manager for Project Safecom.

"We want to get the latest technology and innovative ideas to do several demonstration projects for wireless communications across all levels of government," Murphy said.

Murphy said several pilot projects proposed in response to the BAA would be selected for funding, likely by the end of 2004. He said the proposals must each detail a specific public safety organization that would participate in the pilot.

The department has found that one-third of local public safety agencies, such as police and fire departments, cannot talk with each other over wireless communications devices such as radios in the field, Murphy said.

Project Safecom, one of 25 cross-agency e-government initiatives, seeks to develop more effective, interoperable wireless communications so that local, state, federal and tribal public safety agencies can all communicate.

Murphy said he was not sure how much funding would be available for the pilot projects.

He spoke to telecommunications contractors and federal telecommunications buyers Feb. 19 at the Federal Networks 2004 conference in Vienna, Va.

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