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PR- 326-06
September 12, 2006


Network Will Provide Critical Information to First Responders in the Field; Five-Year, $500 Million Contract Is Most Aggressive Public Safety Technology Initiative of Any Municipality

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Administration Edward Skyler and Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Paul Cosgrave today announced the selection of the Northrop Grumman Corporation to create the Citywide Mobile Wireless Network (CMWN) for public safety personnel and other City agencies. The most aggressive commitment by any municipality to provide a next-generation public safety network, CMWN will give first responders from the Police Department (NYPD) and Fire Department (FDNY) high-speed data access to support large file transfers, including federal and state anti-crime and anti-terrorism databases, fingerprints, mug shots, city maps, and full-motion streaming video. Fully interoperable, the network will also increase coordination across City agencies by giving the FDNY, NYPD, Department of Transportation (DOT), the Office of Emergency Management (OEM ), and other City agencies access to real-time emergency management data between the City’s incident managers at operations centers and first responder personnel on-scene. The five-year, $500 million contract award to build and maintain CMWN was delivered to Northrop Grumman today, and the first CMWN functions are expected to be activated in Lower Manhattan by January 2007.

“One of the most important lessons learned from the September 11th attacks was that our emergency responders need better access to information and clearer lines of communication in the field,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The Citywide Mobile Wireless Network will be a dedicated network that will ensure that public safety personnel will have the tools they need at their fingertips to fight crime and help New Yorkers in emergencies. It will also improve efficiency and productivity in non-emergency situations by streamlining communications and improving service. Northrop Grumman provides the kind of next-generation technology that the City needs to remain a pioneer in public safety communications, and I am pleased to announce that they will be our partner in this venture.”  

“With the Citywide Mobile Wireless Network, New York City will stay at the forefront of emerging public safety technology,” said Deputy Mayor for Administration Edward Skyler. “The network builds upon our other technology advancements such as improvements in radio communications and investments in state-of-the-art command centers to ensure that first responders have the tools they need to respond in emergencies. From streaming video to accessing agency systems, the network will provide a significant improvement over existing technology for police officers, firefighters and other City workers.”

“This is a watershed day for first responder communications in New York City,” said Commissioner Cosgrave.  “Our emergency personnel are the world’s best, and the network we’re building is worthy of responders carrying that distinction. CMWN will be an IP-based network, enabling fully interoperable data communications. As a result, essential information can be shared instantaneously among multiple City agencies, as needed. The City will also work, through our existing interoperable communications committees, to ensure that our partners in State, federal and regional public safety agencies have access to CMWN. The network will also be available to host public safety wireless applications of non-City agencies operating in the five boroughs.” 

“The future success of crime fighting and public safety in general is inexorably wedded to the ability to quickly access data and share it,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “This advanced network is a giant step into the future.”

“This wireless network will greatly enhance several critical technology projects we’ve developed over the past few years,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “It will help us get to emergencies more quickly, and provide a conduit for the movement of critical information – including data and video – between the scene of an emergency and our Operations Center at headquarters.”

DoITT selected Northrop Grumman after a lengthy collaborative evaluation among representatives from DoITT, NYPD, FDNY and DOT, including the City’s independent quality assurance consultant, the New York State Technology Enterprise Corporation (NYSTEC). The evaluation included a seven-month pilot that covered a section of Lower Manhattan. Northrop Grumman’s performance in a series of rigorous technical criteria proved that its technology was most successful in emergency simulations and multiple failure scenarios, including loss of commercial power and telecommunications services. The technology also allowed emergency communications to be prioritized over non-critical communications. During a key component of the pilot, the City conducted a successful interoperability exercise in which the network was programmed to simulate an emergency incident. The technology allowed responders in the field to communicate with their operations headquarters and send and receive critical information during demanding conditions.

The fully-secure network will enable the NYPD and FDNY to deploy new applications to their personnel in the field. The deployment of CMWN will enhance police officers’ ability to access real-time photo, warrant, and license plate databases in the identification of suspects in criminal investigations and instant communications for detective units with NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center. CMWN will enable the Fire Department to establish reliable wireless connectivity between the Fire Operations Center and responders in the field to transmit on-scene data and video. The network will also enable remote access to operating procedures, maps and other geographic information by enhancing the FDNY’s planned Electronic Command Board (ECB). The City will work to provide network access to state and federal public safety agencies as well.

CMWN will further enhance current emergency responder Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems in FDNY vehicles by providing real-time map and database updates and will allow expansion of AVL technology to other agencies. CWMN will also allow for wireless emergency call boxes – Internet-based phone boxes powered by solar battery power – throughout the city in areas without access to wired telephony or commercial power.

Additionally, CMWN will support a host of other non-emergency applications that will provide a significant improvement over existing technology for City workers in the field. Mobile access will be enhanced by automating and streamlining time-consuming transactions and processes, increasing productivity. One example of this is the new water meter reading technology CMWN will provide to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which will reduce costs associated with conventional methods of meter reading, provide better customer service by increasing actual read rates, provide customers with better consumption information, and detect potential water leaks. DOT will use CMWN to expand its ability to remotely monitor and program traffic signal controls both daily and during emergency events. CMWN will provide secure, redundant and reliable transmissions of incident information, including photos and video, and further enable DOT to improve safety and efficiency while reducing congestion and potential hazards.

In January 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report, “Statement of Requirements for Public Safety Wireless Communications & Interoperability,” which found that, “inadequate and unreliable wireless communications have been issues plaguing public safety organizations for decades.”  The report emphasized that “voice communications are critical, but voice communication requirements are not the only issue.  Because of advances in technology, public safety operations are increasingly dependent on the sharing of data, images, and video.”  New York City has already secured roughly $20 million from DHS to build the network, and will continue to pursue any DHS or other federal funding that may be available to assist in the implementation of this important investment in next generation technology for the City’s first responders.

During the next 90 days, Northrop Grumman will complete an extensive system design and operations plan that will establish the framework for the implementation of the network across the city to ensure compliance with the City’s public safety specifications.  Subsequently, starting with Lower Manhattan, field and network equipment will be installed over the following 18 months, with direct oversight by the City and a quality assurance consultant, in cooperation with all of the supporting public safety agencies involved with the project. The entire project is expected to be activated in Lower Manhattan by January 2007 and citywide by Spring 2008. Northrop Grumman will equip, build and maintain the system for five years, while providing technical support to DoITT. The wireless system can be modified in the future to accommodate upgrades and the addition of new applications. The City may renew the contract for up to an additional 10 years, and add more units to accommodate future growth as required.


Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958


Paul Browne   (Police Department)
(646) 610-6700

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

Juli Ballesteros (Northrop Grumman)   (703) 556-2736

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