DHS S&T Announces New Partnership to Improve Communications for the Nation's First Responders

(Released 5 October 2016) Washington, D.C. - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) have signed an agreement that will enable them to leverage both organizations’ strengths and resources to benefit the first responder community.

S&T’s First Responders Group and APTS have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to make the datacasting technology available nationwide. This technology enables the public safety community to transmit secure data, including voice, text, files, images, and video over existing broadcast television signals to a targeted audience. Even in an emergency situation, where other wireless services often fail due to network congestion, datacasting still provides a reliable platform for quickly sending and receiving large files.

Datacasting has been 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. These pilots have proven that datacasting can be a reliable vehicle to get first responders the situational awareness and information they need quickly and without disruptions. 

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

Through this partnership, S&T aims to further its mission of providing first responders with innovative tools and technologies to strengthen their ability to respond to the most pressing challenges faced during day-to-day and large-scale emergencies to better protect the nation.

For additional information about the datacasting technology, contact first.responders@hq.dhs.gov

DHS Science & Technology Press Office
John Verrico
Email: john.verrico@hq.dhs.gov
Phone: (202) 254-2385