Providence, R.I., taps Motorola for mesh network

The city of Providence, R.I., awarded Motorola Inc. a $2.3 million contract for a network that will serve its public safety departments, the company announced today.

Motorola of Schaumburg, Ill., will provide a mobile mesh network that will grant Providence's police, fire and other public safety personnel high-speed access to large amounts of data from anywhere in the city. Information that will be available via the network includes police reports, suspect profiles, building blueprints and medical records.

The Mobile Data Communications Network will provide wireless access with nearly 100 times the speed of the city's existing Cellular Digital Packet Data system. The current system transmits data at less than half the speed of a commercial dial-up modem.

The network will enable the transfer of digital video and other high-bandwidth applications, the company said.

The purchase is funded by grants, the largest coming from the Homeland Security Department and the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policy Services program. The network is scheduled to be operational in early 2006.

Ethan Butterfield is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication Washington Technology.

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