DHS Partners with Public TV Stations for Datacasting
Monday, October 10, 2016 | Comments

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) signed an agreement to make datacasting technology available nationwide. The agreement will leverage both organizations’ strengths and resources to benefit the first responder community, a statement said.

This technology enables the public-safety community to transmit secure data, including voice, text, files, images and video over existing broadcast TV signals to a targeted audience. Even in an emergency situation, where other wireless services often fail because of network congestion, datacasting provides a reliable platform for quickly sending and receiving large files.

Datacasting was piloted multiple times between 2015 and 2016. The city of Houston successfully leveraged the technology during the Republican presidential candidates debate, and other successful pilots took place during the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament and the flooding response and recovery efforts in April. The pilots proved that datacasting can be a reliable vehicle to provide first responders with situational awareness and information they need.

APTS is a nonprofit organization of public TV stations that operate about 350 stations in all 50 states and the territories.

"We look forward to working with DHS and with first responders and emergency communications agencies nationwide to marshal this promising public TV technology in the service of our country,” said APTS President and CEO Patrick Butler. "Pilot programs with public television stations in Houston, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and other communities have demonstrated the value of datacasting in coordinating emergency response efforts among responsible agencies and bringing life-saving information to the public efficiently and effectively.”

More information on the DHS datacasting project is here and in the March 2016 cover story of MissionCritical Communications magazine.

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