Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV) has entered into a three-year strategic distribution alliance with the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) to offer continuous wireless connectivity for public safety agencies in situations where the public switched telephone network (PSTN) is congested or damaged, or where phone coverage is non-existent.
Sprint ERT works side-by-side with public safety agencies to coordinate communications during emergencies, standing ready to provide customers with personnel, equipment, and infrastructure.
Under the terms of the distribution alliance, Sprint ERT will also offer MSV’s current array of services including MSV push-to-talk and two-way radio service over satellite as well as telephony over MSV’s MSAT generation satellites. The agreement also includes provisions for adding new and future communications services. Sprint ERT will also sell MSV’s push-to-talk radio services to government and other public-safety agencies.”
Nextel’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), founded in 2002, offers the mechanism to set up multi-agency communications over Nextel’s commercial wireless network. The ERT’s main tool is the Satellite Cell-On-Light Truck (SatCOLT), a mobile cell site that boosts coverage in a Nextel service area or provides service in a remote region where the carrier has no infrastructure.
Housed on a Ford F-650 Super Duty truck, the SatCOLT is designed to be “rapid-deployable, transportable and fully self-sufficient,” said Matt Foosaner, an ERT senior director stationed in Dulles, Va. It includes a 70-foot cell tower and a satellite antenna to link the site to Nextel’s nationwide network. The site is powered by a 15-kilowatt generator and carries enough diesel fuel to run for 10 to 12 days, he said.
When the SatCOLT arrives at an incident, ERT members distribute Nextel’s Motorola-built wireless phones to personnel at the scene. Combined with Nextel phones already deployed by responding agencies, these allow users from different organizations to talk to each other via the carrier’s Direct Connect push-to-talk service. The ERT can configure talk groups, “and we can change it on the fly over the air,” Foosaner said. “We never have to touch those radios again.”
Nextel also is installing a Raytheon JPS ACU-1000 switch (right) on the SatCOLTs, Foosaner said. These can provide interoperability between agencies’ own land mobile radios and Nextel’s units.
SMART, an acronym for Satellite Mutual Aid Radio Talkgroup, launched by Mobile Satellite Ventures, uses their satellite phone technology, so group members can listen to, or join in, the conversation occurring over the talkgroup. It will offer nationwide, two–way satellite radio capabilities to law enforcement and public safety officials. It was conceived and administered with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mobile Satellite Ventures’ MSAT-1 and MSAT-2 satellites deliver mobile wireless voice and data services primarily for public safety, security, fleet management and asset tracking in the U.S. and Canada.
MSV is also developing a hybrid satellite-terrestrial communications network which it expects will provide seamless, transparent and ubiquitous wireless coverage of the United States and Canada to conventional handsets.
MSV plans to launch two satellites for coverage of the United States and Canada, which are expected to be among the largest and most powerful commercial satellites ever built. When completed, the network is expected to support communications in a variety of areas including public safety, homeland security, aviation, transportation and entertainment, by providing a platform for interoperable, user-friendly and feature-rich voice and high-speed data services.