State getting first-of-its-kind emergency network

JACKSON — The State of Mississippi will begin work on the nation’s first statewide broadband long-term evolution network for public safety agencies.

The state has contracted with Motorola Solutions Inc. for $56 million to create the network, which will provide high-speed broadband interoperability between city, county and state emergency responders.

“This network by Motorola will allow our first responders to share large amounts of data quickly in an emergency when every second counts,” Gov. Haley Barbour said. “This technology through the Mississippi Wireless Information Network can save lives.”

The funds will upgrade the current Mississippi Wireless Information Network, which allows public safety agencies statewide to contact each other through radio systems. The grant will enable first responders to transmit video and other data. The program will serve 90 hospitals, 340 ambulances and up to 9,900 public safety workers in Mississippi.

The project is funded as part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Motorola will provide maintenance and operations for the first two years following system acceptance.

The MSWIN system, which provides interoperable communication for emergency responders, was created under the direction of Gov. Barbour after Hurricane Katrina exposed a critical need for agencies to communicate efficiently.

The MSWIN system allows users to speak through a secure digital radio system operating under the Mississippi Wireless Communication Commission. The MSWIN system was established with $157 million in federal funds and $57 million in state bond funds. The MSWIN system is currently fully operational in the southern third of the state and is scheduled to be complete throughout the entire state by June 2012.

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