ATF plans to field broadband system

The Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has announced plans to field a nationwide wireless broadband telecommunications and Web portal. The agency said in a procurement notice issued last week that it seeks to award a contract by November for a wireless system based on technology from iPass.

In a notice on the Fed-BizOpps government acquisition system, the agency said it plans to solicit proposals for the system around Aug. 7. ATF seeks to purchase a system that would support thousands of agency employees.

ATF stated its requirements for the planned system: 'The Web portal shall support law enforcement activities, a collaborative work environment, remote access to databases and software, surveillance and streaming video applications over an integrated wireless infrastructure encompassing a broad spectrum of wireless devices and a secure e-mail system using iPass Mobile Systems software and products.'

The bureau's announced choice of the iPass technology for broadband Web service appeared to raise questions as to how ATF's planned system would link with secure law enforcement networks and databases. The agency's technology staff last week reviewed inquiries about how its planned Web service acquisition would maintain security and mesh with other federal, state and local law enforcement networks and databases.

ATF plans to issue a fixed-price contract with one base year and four option years, according to last week's notice.

The bureau said in the notice that it expects to purchase maintenance and support services to go along with the wireless Web portal.

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