Interoperability projects to get funding boost

The number of public safety interoperable communications (PSIC) projects is expected to increase according to a new report from INPUT. The deadline for projects under the Federal Communications Commission’s narrowbanding initiative is on the horizon and INPUT estimates that state and local spending on PSIC projects will reach $38.7 billion by 2015.

Public safety interoperability is a perennial issue for state and local public safety and justice departments, one that has often faced significant challenges. However, thanks to new policy standards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and advances in technology public safety officials may find themselves with more flexibility and interoperability support than previously realized.

“Public safety interoperable communications remains at the forefront of public safety spending,” said Kate Gollogly, research associate, Justice/Public Safety and Homeland Security at INPUT. “Due to the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate, state and local agencies have been forced to reevaluate their existing communications infrastructure. They have the option to either narrowband their existing infrastructure or replace their entire system by January 1, 2013.”

So far, a total of $593 million has been requested through earmarks for 2011 with an additional $4 billion in projects identified through 2015. The projects will have an impact on a variety of agencies including first responders, public safety offices and justice departments. For more information the report is available here.