APTS signs Homeland Security agreement to provide datacasting

Print More

America’s Public Television Stations has signed a memo of understanding with the Department of Homeland Security for a partnership on public-safety datacasting.

The department will work with APTS to use public TV datacasting technology that will assist first responders and emergency communications agencies nationwide, according to an announcement made Thursday.

Datacasting enables secure transmission of voice, text, files, images and video over broadcast television signals to first responders. The broadcast technology is especially valuable during emergencies, when wireless platforms may fail due to network overload, the announcement said.

Patrick Butler, APTS president, called the memo a “landmark agreement.”

Butler said pilot programs with public TV stations in Houston, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and other cities “have demonstrated the value of datacasting in coordinating emergency response efforts among responsible agencies and bringing life-saving information to the public efficiently and effectively.”

The DHS announcement said that the pilot tests “have proven that datacasting can be a reliable vehicle to get first responders the situational awareness and information they need quickly and without disruptions.”