Maryland CIO has a sales pitch for HDTVs

Maryland CIO has a sales pitch for HDTVs

Maryland CIO Ellis Kitchen is encouraging as many people in his state as possible to buy high-definition televisions this holiday season. His hope is that if enough people buy HDTVs, it will free up the 700-MHz frequency so the state's emergency personnel can use the statewide network at that bandwidth.

'We just can't use it yet because that is what broadcasters are using for regular television,' Kitchen said yesterday at a breakfast in Falls Church, Va., sponsored by Input of Reston, Va. 'It may be usable in five to seven years, but we can't wait that long.'

For now, Kitchen plans to use ACU 1000 software from Raytheon Corp. to connect mutual-aid channels using UHF, VHF and other frequencies that are available to state emergency response teams.

'This is a three-to-five-year solution until the infrastructure we need is in place,' Kitchen said. 'This still is an unproven technology, though. We have tested it out on a small scale, but not statewide.'

Kitchen said to make a statewide network interoperable it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. He said Pennsylvania and New York are spending at least $400 million each to make their systems interoperable.

Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich has set up an interoperability working group, which is creating a governance model to manage the project, Kitchen added.

The state also is completing NetworkMaryland, which includes the state's Internet, Internet 2 and data transport applications. Kitchen said the system will lease services from telecommunications providers for secure data and voice comm.

'NetworkMaryland will give us the ability to better secure our data, improve our ability to share data and bring e-mail, time-keeping systems and other systems on a common platform,' he said.

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