Homeland Security and Public Safety

Seattle Working on New Wireless Public Safety Network
By: on December 22, 2011
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Seattle's Pike Place Market. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/ramelectronicsdotnet

The city of Seattle is leading a multijurisdictional effort to build a new wireless public safety network in Washington state made possible by a public-private partnership. The network, once carried out, would be one of the largest public safety networks in the nation, according to Seattle CTO Bill Schrier.

Schrier said the city released a request for information (RFI) in December, with the hope of building the network before 2015. Users would include police, fire, emergency, medical, utilities, transportation and public works departments and would function across King County — where Seattle is located — as well as neighboring Pierce and Snohomish counties. Together the three counties account for a population of about 3.5 million people.

The network would deliver mobile broadband and mission-critical voice and data capability, and would align with President Barack Obama’s National Wireless Initiative — a push to build a “nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network for America’s first responders,” said federal CTO Aneesh Chopra in a Dec. 19 White House blog post.

Schrier said he’d like a commercial cellular carrier to join the network. The carrier would have access to the city’s fiber-optic networks in order to facilitate the partnership.

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