U.S. offers $968 million for disaster technology

Funds to help public-safety agencies buy sophisticated, interoperable and dependable communications tech, Commerce Department says.
Written by Reuters , Contributor
The U.S. government is offering $968 million in grants to help state and local public-safety agencies buy sophisticated radios and technology for communications during disasters, the Department of Commerce said Wednesday.

The program aims to equip police and fire departments, and other emergency agencies in all 50 states, with more dependable and interoperable communications.

Funding for the grants will come from expected proceeds of the Federal Communications Commission's 700-megahertz spectrum auction, scheduled for later this year.

Technology eligible for grants includes voice or radio Internet protocols, broadband video applications, mobile public-safety networks, multiband software-designed radios and satellite communication systems, the Commerce Department said.

The grants can also be used for software and services, said John Kneuer, assistant secretary of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

"We didn't want to mandate a single solution for all jurisdictions," he said, noting that some public-safety agencies might choose to buy a software system that can tie together existing radio systems instead of replacing them.

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