Motorola, Miss. team up for public safety network

Motorola Inc. and Mississippi have inked a contract for the development and deployment of a statewide emergency communications network, the office of Gov. Haley Barbour announced this week.

Once it is completed the new voice and data network will provide interoperable emergency communications coverage throughout the state, the governor's office said. The system, known as Mississippi Wireless Information Network, will use the 700 MHz public safety network.

Motorola of Schaumburg, Ill., plans to design and implement MSWIN in a three-phase rollout using the Mississippi Highway Patrol districts as guidelines. Phase one will provide coverage to the southern portion of the state, phase two the central region and phase three the northern region. The project will include 135 radio tower sites throughout the state.

The statewide public safety network will help first responders on a daily basis and also in large-scale emergency situations, said Bob Schassler, vice president of Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions.

"This state-of-the-art, mission-critical communications system will provide the State of Mississippi with advanced capabilities such as increased frequencies, talk groups, system redundancies and advanced interoperability for agencies throughout the state," he said.

The price tag for the six-year project ranges from $168 million to $200 million, according to media reports. State officials plan to fund the project through legislative appropriations and federal grants.

To assist the Mississippi Gulf Coast area during the current hurricane season, Motorola is shipping three rapid deployable "sites on wheels" emergency communications trailers and generators that will serve as an interim communication systems while the permanent facilities are being built.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, all of Mississippi's 82 counties were declared disaster areas and 49 received full federal assistance.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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