Sunday, October 24, 2010

Looking for Partners

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are looking for partners in the telecommunications industry to help create a demonstration broadband communications network for the nation’s emergency services agencies. The network will use a portion of the 700 megahertz radio frequency spectrum freed up by last year’s transition of U.S. broadcast television from analog to digital technologies.

The demonstration network currently being developed by the joint NIST/NTIA Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program is in place to provide a common site for manufacturers, carriers, and public safety agencies to test and evaluate advanced broadband communications equipment, and provide software tailored specifically to the needs of emergency first responders.

The PSCR program is a partnership of the NIST Law Enforcement Standards Office and NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences. PSCR provides needed technical support, research, development, testing, and evaluation.

Alcatel-Lucent is the first vendor for public safety broadband equipment to formally join the PSCR demonstration network project by signing a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST and NTIA in September 2010. The company has supplied the demonstration network with Long Term Evolution (LTE) Bandclass 14 equipment.

The two agencies hope that other companies will follow to create a multi-vendor environment to test and evaluate the demonstration network and also to help build the system. Partners may participate in many ways by donating equipment, providing access to infrastructure, or supporting tests.

Vendors and other telecommunications companies that want to become CRADA partners on the demonstration network project may email Dereck Orr at or Jeff Bratcher at for more information.