The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced it will pilot a new technology in support of the Next Generation Network Priority Service (NGN-PS) Phase 2 program, which provides first responders and emergency managers with priority voice, data, and video communications during emergencies and widespread outages. This pilot is part of CISA’s ongoing development of priority services for voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-based networks. The pilot uses a technology known as Comm³, which employs multimodal mesh network technology to breakdown barriers to connectivity between different platforms and protocols.
CISA will use Comm³, which is managed by Crius Technology Group, to demonstrate how national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications signals can be routed to the electric grid as an alternative communications pathway in a way that prioritizes first responder traffic over all other traffic, utilizing the electrical power infrastructure as a backup to existing communications infrastructure.
Billy Bob Brown Jr., CISA’s Executive Assistant Director for Emergency Communications, stated, “the NGN-PS Pilot will provide us a key advantage in meeting our emergency communications needs and solving a mission problem, saving us time and money, while we stay focused on keeping our Nation safe.”
Comm3 was procured for CISA using flexible and rapid acquisition processes to harness commercial technologies for government use. The processes are part of a broader effort by the Department of Homeland Security to ensure commercial innovations can be made available quickly to solve mission challenges. Polly Hall, DHS’s Procurement Innovation Lead (PIL), said, “these types of procurements allow our agency to find commercial solutions more quickly.”
CISA’s Chief Innovation Officer, Sabra Horne, stated, “it’s exciting to work with the PIL, using innovative processes to solve the challenges we face in keeping our country safe each day.”
This effort aligns with the recommendations in the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) 2007 Study, which reported on the need to significantly expand NS/EP user base (to approximately 8-10 million users) to achieve greater integration and synchronization of preparedness efforts.
For more information on CISA’s Priority Telecommunications Services, visit cisa.gov/pts.