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Resilient First Responder Notifications Via ATSC 3.0/Next Gen TV

Fred Engel  (Chief Technology Officer, PBS North Carolina)

Red Grasso  (Director, North Carolina Department of Information Technology, FirstTech Program)

Pass Type: All Access

Track: System Resiliency, LMR

Format: Power Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Many Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and Fire services across the United States still rely on analog voice paging technology to communicate emergency incident information to responders. The infrastructure for these paging systems is typically owned, operated, and maintained by the local government or agency to ensure coverage includes as close to 100% of the jurisdiction as possible. This paper proposes the use of datacasting technology to provide a redundant method for critical data distribution over a wide area to serve the paging needs of public safety and uses North Carolina as a test case. This concept could lead to cost-sharing, higher reliability, greater collaboration across jurisdictions, and reduced response times. The public deserves the best possible response from the public safety sector and therefore, public safety deserves the best technology available in order to achieve their mission. PBS North Carolina, along with the North Carolina Department of Information Technology First Responder Emerging Technologies Program (FirstTech), presented this concept at the 2019 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference. Much progress has been made since then. Starting in early 2020, a United States Department of Homeland Security Small Business Innovation Research grant was awarded to develop a prototype system that included an encoder and a custom ATSC 3.0 paging receiver with a miniature antenna. This paper will discuss the overall concept and current progress using ATSC 3.0 to address a critical emergency communications need.